Tree as woman / woman as tree

Letter to America by Kim Parko

One Poem

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Hope and its Opposite

If you stand on the ground with your arms above you, hands out, fingers stretched wide, you can approximate a tree. If you think hard, you can grow leaves from your fingertips. If you think harder, past thinking, you can pop out blossoms, and from their centers, fruit. If you pause to listen to your thick sap, the wild birds will find you, even the thousands you’ve killed. All that you’ve killed will land in your branches, will eat the bruised harvest that ferments at your feet. If you remember back, back, back, you’ll awaken to a sun broken through ash: a perfect yolk. You’ll feel the marriage of lightning and air into lichen and moss. But if you walk hurriedly along in your human clothes, all you can do is choose between hope and its opposite.




Kim ParkoKim Parko is the author of The Grotesque Child (Co-winner 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Press Book Prize) and Cure All (Caketrain Press, 2010). Her poetry and fiction have appeared in jubilat, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Caketrain, the PoetryNow podcast, Boston Review (2018 annual poetry contest winner), and elsewhere. Kim lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she creates in the nested and nesting spheres of mother, partner, maker, and hedge witch. She is an associate professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

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