These days, I have been counting
trees and their places. I counted
seventeen different trees in five places.
That was before I counted the leaflets
of the compound leaves of ash and rowan.
That was before I counted those trees
on the far side of the sheep wire fence
that bounds the orchard.
I counted the trees twice last week.
In my dream I am still counting.
In my dream I count you among the living.
I counted on you among the living
without counting the living.
These days, I am
where I used to count time
to the place where I count
this day. I stopped minding
the official count. I am minding it again.
Variations reveal themselves in the way
the spacing and shape of leaflets
tell me rowan from ash.
These days, I see this is how I count
trees and friends who stiffened
into trees. These days, I count them
with the dying cells I shed in sleep.
They are the leaves I count. I count
them in groves, columns of salt.
Jamie O’Halloran is an American-Irish poet whose Corona Connemara & Half a Crown was awarded second place in the 2021 Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition. Her poems appeared most recently in Southword, Skylight 47 and The Honest Ulsterman. She lives above a river in Connemara with her husband, one cat and two donkeys.