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The Trees, The Trees: An Extract

The Trees, The Trees

In celebration of National Poetry Day 2019, we’re thrilled to share three stunning poems by Heather Christle from her new collection. The Trees, The Trees is out today.

 

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THAT AIR OF RUTHLESSNESS

here is the hand here is the hand on my face
it’s not my hand it’s a beautiful day again I
can hardly believe anything what about you who
are so frequently touching some part of the world
what is it you’re touching today when I touch the
trees the trees think man-child they are so
wrong but it is a human face I put on I am
hung up under this weather I am hanging on tight
to a swing when I go up enough I jump then I
am not touching anything then the world thinks
I’ve disappeared I am just having a little fun
not much fun at all are you sad did you touch
the world the wrong way everything is always
happening and not just for show I want to
show you something I don’t care what I want
you to look where I say

 

* * *

 

THAT LITTLE BIRD WAS NOT OKAY

I have been hiding for two hours behind your
idea of a theme park one giant teacup and a fence
nobody wants to tell you you are the top general
on the losing side of a war I started before I could
speak babies communicate with each other
using shadows and casual tumbles I love your
body I have to weep every day I don’t know
why it doesn’t help the flowers grow any faster
speed concerns me speed considers itself so
lightly it doesn’t look like thinking it looks like
a tangerine how many times will I blink
between now and the moment you find me not
here I hope some place I haven’t imagined it
is a lark to love your face so much and from
a minimum distance of ten to fifteen feet

 

* * *

 

AND YET I’M NOT A TREE

I have no relatives I can’t move therefore I am
covered in snow my inability to speak has saved
me from attending endless parties among my
friends I count the window opportunities
surround me and fame the famous sidewalk
the famous building everything is fine I do not
possess a license in this state or any I’d like
to cry out any in my sleep I never do never
sleep never turn around to watch the chimney I
do not know how to hold a rifle what birds have
for me is not respect

 

* * *

 

In The Trees The Trees, each new line is a sharp turn toward joy and heartbreak, and each poem unfolds like a bat through the wild meaninglessness of the world.