To Drown a Tree and Climb


The tree is older than you are;

I read it like a death sentence.
The tree knows,
sees me for me
sees my thoughts
The tree knows,
what I am planning.
The tree is older than I am,
so I try to hide,
try to understand the collision of why and how
like a collage
of overlapping options laid out

The tree is older than I am,
so I feel small,
smaller than an ant burning in the sun,
I feel like a melted puddle of ice cream
that someone is trying to glue back together.

The tree is older than I am.
I am young and strong.
I take advantage, with a chainsaw
cutting into the tree,
letting it flop in the puddle of ice cream
I hope it drowns.
I hope secretly.
But my conscience breathes on my neck and I am confessing
in my sleep.

The tree is older than I am,
I am shouting in my sleep,
fighting the air
for an imaginary tree I killed with sticky hands.
I deny it, I explain it,
I try to drown myself. But I feel more disgusted than suffocated.
The tree is older than I am,
with reaching branches and scars from years of living
waves of dread fill me and wash me to an ocean
where I pose nearly naked for a camera and eyes
that disdain and discredit.
Yet there is something fascinating about being thin;
so thin that I am dizzy and
into the dark circle of the camera, the shutter, I think as I become Alice,
and tumble, feeling the ice cream dried between my fingers,
like the stain on Lady Macbeth’s hands.

The tree is still older than I am,
still alive and wounded. I have landed in the sewer
trying to be what I am not.
I sit down in filth hearing the echo of another bad dude
telling me to sit down.
This precious body,
chaos-covered, is not for desperation.

The tree is older than I am.
It wraps me in its arms
and grows to carry me
out of foul sewage.
We rise together.

When I plummet back to earth they tell me that I shouted in my sleep.

The tree is older than you are,
and though they might laugh when I say I have drowned a tree,
I will not forget that it saved me anyway.
They may say I am too small to drown a tree,
they may believe I am confused,
but I will not forget.

I look for the tree.
And I imagine meeting Jack,
knowing that only he and I
understand what it means
to look down.

look down


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