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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.
Photo by Stanton Stephens.

Anastacia-Renee is a writer, performance artist, and workshop facilitator. She is the 2018-2019 Seattle Civic Poet and former 2015-2017 Poet-in-Residence at Hugo House. She was awarded the 2017 Artist of the Year Award and she has received writing fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Artist Trust and Jack Straw, as well as a writing residency from Ragdale and Mineral School. Anastacia-Renee is the Author of five books: Forget It (Black Radish Books), (v.), (Gramma Press) 26, (Dancing Girl Press), Kiss Me Doll Face(Gramma Press) and Answer(Me) (Winged City Chapbooks, Argus Press) Her cross-genre writing has appeared in: Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism, Sinister Wisdom: Black Lesbians—We Are the Revolution, Revise the Psalm, Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks, Split this Rock, Painted Bride Quarterly, Crab Creek Review, Seattle Review, Bone Bouquet, Duende, Synaethesia,Banqueted, Torch, Bayou, Berkley Review, Fight and The Fiddle and many more.

Other poems by this author