In Which the Trees Reveal

by Joanna Chen

I want you to hear it the way
I do, the leaves moving in the trees,
their soft intake of breath through wind
and sun and ripples of morning light.
And they speak and I hear them again and
they say they are dying and I say: That’s impossible.
It’s summer.
Then I see you through the trees, a flash
of red and blue sweater through green. You throw
your head back and laugh when I tell you this. There is
a small silence and you clear your throat like a round
of applause at a terrible show when the audience
is embarrassed and coats have been gathered up
and programs tucked away in handbags. Look
how rough and ready I have become, how bumpy my terrain is,
safe roads vanished and tiny veins like paths zigzagging
across my body. Imagine traveling over me in a jeep, you could
only do it in a jeep. You do not have one. Explore. Start with a tree.


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