I’m from a place where tree roots are shallow
gripping soil tired from years
of uprooting and rebuilding, stripped
of essential nitrogen and oxygen

But what do I mean by this, my youth verdant
with raspberries, new maples pushing up
pastures green to glowing, fluorescent fields
peopled with horses, cows.

I mean my backyard birthed narrow trees, fingers pointing skyward
surrounded by rhubarb and thorns
slender as only new trees are.
Land farmed, detreed, torn
rocks piled in divisionary walls,
the trees allowed to grow then
toppled, and destroyed.

They kept coming back.

Unable to attain
full size
unable to reach
their natural height

*Feature image created for Pipeline Artists by Antissima

Michelle’s poetry chapbook, Protection, is forthcoming from Poetry Box. Her fiction and poetry have been recognized for multiple awards and her poems appear in numerous journals and anthologies.
More posts by Michelle Lerner.
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