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By Anastacia-Renee

the cedar tree could not comprehend
the crime could not comprehend a leaning
                                                                      a lynching a love gone wrong
how it spilled across its branches like memories

or fog or floating truths
& the cedar tree decided
there has to be a better way to root yourself
                                                                       when the humans spend their days
pulling you this way & that way
when the wind is a bully
a thud a raised hand

& the cedar tree took it(self)
& yanked it(self) out of its soil &
let its body become a sanctuary
how the church goers loved the cedar smell
how it flooded their nostrils
                                                                        like good times like holiday like
                                                                        surprise holy ghost
on a wednesday bible study afternoon.

Added: Thursday, May 4, 2017  /  From "Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks" (Curbside Splendor Publishing, 2017). Used with permission.

Anastacia-Renee, is Writer-in-Residence at Hugo House, a home for writers in Seattle. She is a queer writer, performance artist, and creative writing workshop facilitator. She has received poetry fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Artist Trust, and Jack Straw, as well as a writing residency from Ragdale. Her theatrical mixed-media project, 9 Ounces: A One Woman Show is a multivalent social justice play unapologetically downward dogging its way through class, race, culture, oppression, depression, survival, and epiphany. She is the author of 26 (Dancing Girl Press) and her cross-genre work has been published widely. Three books, Forget It (Black Radish Books), Answer (Me) (Winged City Chapbooks, Argus Press), and (V.) (Gramma Press) are forthcoming in 2017.

Other poems by this author