By | 1 May 2020

It’s getting hard for me to remember
what it was like before I was a tree.

What the news reports don’t tell you is how
this all started as a little pain
between my legs. A small throb.

I thought it was just a case of blue balls. At first
the doctors called the dark fractals in the sonogram
mineral deposits, suggesting the sea.

They didn’t mean whole swift swarms of fish.
Imagine a man like me
with no city to abandon or look back at—

and suddenly becoming salt.
I should have known:
I have always loved to dig my toes

into the mud. I’ve always marvelled
at the downing of power lines
and the slow breaking

of the local roads and walks. Times
I’ve been kissed and told I reek
of black cherry and mulch.

Soon after the groin aches started,
I took my love to the sakura festival

and stood under the orchard rows
and could not stop staring up
into a couple million crumpled

bloodied buds, as if some blunt thing
full of spring had bashed them open
one by one into this gangbuster chorus.

What a sky to gaze into—a hallelujah
of tattered tongues. Brutal, I tell you. Hell,

I got no clue when I’m supposed to
break into blossom. But when I do,
I hope there’s music playing

and lovers lying in a lanky tangle
beside me. I promise to stand absolutely still
and forget what it was like

to have spent my entire life walking around
as if I’d ever been just a man.

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