If a Tree Were to Fall

Rachel Janis

If the C string of my cello were to snap

in the deep woods, with no one

around to hear, would you find the coordinates

of its landing? Would you see

the vibration of it in your water, little crafted rings,

or come across a piano and notice

the metaphor of sharp and flattened keys?

In this life, I don’t play the cello—

but if I did, the C string would be the one to go,

finding the ground like a wiry snake, and I’d like

to think you’d think of a wordless scroll, a spine
losing its voice, a bridge missing a lane. But instead you’ll

stop at a tree, at some branches, and gasp

at a mosquito wrapped in a hammock of someone

else’s blood, and you’ll see the spider waiting,

bloodied. In any other life, the spider tidies

up in silk, eats clean.