by Tracie Morris
Hand-grasping, the branches
ends bud. Pustules of red along
the grey-brown bark.
The leaves are late, into the cruelest
month, only stems. They remind
me of Morticia in the show who used
to cut off bulbs admiring the sticks
and the perked pink thorns’ tips.
Her slick black dress bottom fronds like roots.
Her foreign lover, an amalgam of Latinates’ tongue.
Is this tree from here? Is it a transplant from a ship
a gale pillowed to shore? Was there oak before?
Or is this ash? An ample tree in summer full of living blood.
Her squirrel squirrels a nest of discarded, crisp oil wraps.
Framed like this, here the weeping willow further away seems
to enjoy the absence of us breathing underneath.
It’s small greens growing. Why not my arbor or its ivy? Am I to blame?
I talk to it through panes and it waits, for me to leave, but I don’t.
Plague envelopes, my carbon, damask velvety cloak.
© 2020 Tracie Morris
Bio: Tracie Morris is writer/editor of 7 books and is a poet, professor, vocalist, voice teacher and theorist. She holds an MFA in poetry from CUNY Hunter College, a PhD from NYU, and studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She became an Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artist in 2018 was the 2018-2019 WPR Fellow at Harvard University. Tracie is currently the inaugural Distinguished Visiting Professor of Poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.