Black Willow


What is it that we are?

Me, I can define myself by the height of that black willow,
watching over the pond since we were kids. We’ve etched
our secret loves on her trunk, threaded her wilting limbs

through our own tresses. We’ve held great pirate battles
with her branches, and communed with the beetle
family that took to her roots. Remember peanut butter

sandwiches on your mama’s checkered blanket, and
dealing danger-blackjack, and teenaged wisdom, and Polaroid
selfies to the gang (before selfies were a thing)? Singing

your favorite lines from Alanis like a warning to the world
at large. Shredding report cards and slam books and the
wrappers from those stupid taffies that you never could

resist. I can still taste their sweetness, like regret. It’s here
we solved the case of the missing scarf, and decided to stop
biting our nails, and prayed your Daddy would come home.

I am her highest limbs. I am her deepest roots. I am the way
the sun slants just right through her leaves. I am the ripples
on that tiny pond when the breeze whispers what it knows.

And now she stands here, under a garnet sky,
as we stand beside her, and say goodbye.


Poetic Asides April PAD Challenge, day 22. This is the one with all the prompts. 

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3 Responses to Black Willow

  1. erbiage says:

    Oh de I do love trees. This is an amazing piece of writing.

    Sent from my iPad

  2. trishwrites1 says:

    Well that brought a tear- beautiful

  3. Shawna says:

    “Black Willow” itself is just ridiculously clever word play and a perfect jump-off for a magical poem that only you could write. (I first accidentally wrote “magtical,” which makes me think of “Magi tickle,” which should probably be a poem.)

    These are some of my faves:
    “We’ve etched
    our secret loves on her trunk”
    “sandwiches on your mama’s checkered blanket”

    Never mind. I can’t do favorite lines. It just builds and builds and builds; the power you have over me is unbelievable. My heart starts beating faster, I lean forward in my chair. It’s just magic, girl.

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