The worst advice I ever received
was taxonomical. Quercus alba.
How does one proceed, left to dangle
from the wire of his own name?
I listened to children ask each other,
What do you want to be when you’re grown?
As if limbs aren’t lopped, each day
a sort of manicure where branches
jutting over houses so often cup
the heads of birds. As if there weren’t
a twisting in those shaped by torment:
the rocks I couldn’t dodge, the lives
roped over branches with a rubber tire.
My roots uncurled like brittle fingers,
and I knew that when I fell, they’d let me.