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Visiting My Parents at the Cemetery, I Consider Trees

by Donna Vorreyer

the ground is cold
beneath my jeans and
the wind scatters leaves
from nearby trees
so I wave my hands
to clear their names
engraved upon the stones
as if I can reverse time
as if I can return a carriage
from now back
to the margins of before
as if the maple pods
pinwheeling toward the dying
earth become lilacs
fragrant at their front door
as if the scars of loss
were small as when leaves
are stripped from branches
instead of me ripped whole
from root to flower
not knowing how to seal
the wound as a tree does
leaving itself open
to isolate the split
and then grow beyond it

Donna Vorreyer is the author of Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (2016) and A House of Many Windows (2013), both from Sundress Publications. Her poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in Rhino, Tinderbox Poetry, Poet Lore, Sugar House Review, Waxwing, Whale Road Review, and many other journals. Her third full-length collection is forthcoming from Sundress in 2020.

Lead image: “Red Maple Leaves” *with edits* (via Flickr user

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