The Honest Tree

The Honest Tree

She comes from The Honest Tree.

I look out of my window and see, across the way,

her tending to its branches and to

its roots.

She prunes it lovingly,

and plants pieces of it around them,

so that it never really dies.

 

Her skin is mahogany,

hair rustling in the wind like the leaves,

limbs long and lanky like branches of The Tree itself.

When she stretches,

it looks like she is growing right before your eyes,

upwards, upwards,

towards the space between the treetops and the clouds.

 

“You won’t believe me,

I don’t think,

but my home standing before you

once blossomed like the

dawn of day.

This tree-

I used to dance in its waving tree tops,

used to sing into the breezes

that passed through its branches,

used to bathe in the pollen of the flowers

that bloomed.

Now,

my home is lovely, but dark,

a shadow of its former glory,

no longer a home-

just a house where

I lay my head,” she tells me,

eyes saddened and mouth hopeful and,

God, I never saw a person who looked like a flower

until I saw her.

 

“It may not look like it now,

but with your love,

we can do what spring does to my Tree.

We can bring about the cherry blossoms,

the first leaves who are brave enough to reveal themselves,

the warmth that I know so well.

Name one living thing that doesn’t bloom,

I dare you.

Just wait,

you’ll see.” she whispers in my ear.

We walk together under the dead branches

and she is constantly looking up, looking away, looking down.

 

By now,

I am deep in her forest,

and I have forgotten to leave a trail of breadcrumbs to follow back home.

She is lovely, but dark

and I am becoming anxious.

I want to leave,

but she says she has promises to keep.

“I come from a place

where trees mean more than people.

You live in a world

where trees mean nothing at all.

We are too different to really be in love.”

She was holding my hands

and through her fingers,

flowers began to take root in my veins,

the pulse of life making my heart beat faster, harder.

 

“I see a little bit of our past still roaming around

in my forest,

taking cover from rain,

laughing at the silliness of it all.

The memories are still strong here,

I promise,” she is stroking my hair now,

fingers gently caressing my face.

I can feel life being sapped from my body,

this body that doesn’t belong here,

never belonged here.

She is holding on to me,

resting my head on the dead leaves and fallen branches.

 

I know I will become a part of her Tree,

and in this way, I will never really die.

I will watch over her,

keeping her company in a distant way now.

She is using me, will forever use me,

and never even asked permission.

I am becoming her home,

and would have done it willingly anyway.

It doesn’t matter much now, though.

I can already feel the sun shining into my pulse,

can already feel the heaviness of the wind

as it blows against this tall, grayish brown body.

I, once so small, am now so great,

so expansive,

my roots continuing to grow deep

so that I may stay strong and stand in courage.

She kept her promise.

 

Recy Taylor

Recy Taylor

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