Journal of Writing & Environment

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.