the very next morning you taught me
how to be a tree
breathing deep & feeling
my roots the history of struggle
who fought & died to get me
where i am
my branches the future
my thick trunk my core
from the outermost bulges
of my body i’ve fought hard
in the midst of 10 hours of meetings
before i even knew what i was feeling you taught me
to be a tree.
i didn’t forget.
so when ima came to me with tears in her eyes
and endless train of sigariyot
choooo chooooing smoke out of her face
i said to her,
be a tree.
and we stood together in the driveway
boxes of my things everywhere still with their fates undecided
under the mango tree
& i told her breathe this way and to feel these things metaphorically somatically
and let it travel the length
of your body,
and so on.
i said the words quickly nervously
as if i would screw up
as if you could forget words
that dwell now
in your bones.
& maybe she didn’t get all those poetic parts
about freedom fighting and all that
at least not in a way that we talk about anyways,
but there we were
under the mango tree.
so when i was curled up today
ready to disappear into nothing to di s i n t e g r a t e ,
& you came along and told me to be a tree,
in those familiar magic words,
because today i am a different kind of tree,
roots dead deep in the ground it feels,
bark hardening on its way
a sad old face
as crumpled leaves