Fall 2016 (Volume 20, Issue II): 20th Anniversary Issue




My long dead father is planted in me
like one of those staunch Michigan trees
that stand alone in a field, respected
by some nineteenth century plowman.
I eye them from the road driving,
I approach them emerging from the woods
along a path among corn stubble,
they have a cacophony of branches,
richness of old growth, hands and arms
twisted and turning against the sky;
whether dead or sprouting new light green leaves
they are anchored, they withstand.
My mother, genealogist, once found
beneath them the gravestone of an ancestor,
and I was untroubled once when
in the middle of nowhere I found
a makeshift noose haunting a low branch
just above my head, these staunch Michigan trees
reach toward me in a winter fog,
they draw tears, they stiffen me
like the old oak we hung the oxbow from
in our growing up laughing years
running to his arms each evening
where he returned home.

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