2nd Place winner of the Young Writers Poetry Prize - Knoxville Writers'
Front Yard Tree
by Amber Lorien Gilbert, Oak Ridge High School
They will not remember my front yard tree
With the swollen trunk,
That pregnant body curling in on itself,
Knotted fingers protecting
And those stray kittens.
The ones who arrived
The summer of Andrew,
And refused our cardboard homes
And sprinklings of kitty chow
In favor of the long
And small birds.
You hung that feeder out
On the branch nearest the window
So I could watch the
Splitting sunflower seeds,
And I cried when the kittens
Caught the smallest of the birds,
Left only a parachute of red feathers
Under the full canopy
Of the tree.
And you said life was like that,
An appreciation and defacation
In all the same breath.
They will not remember my front yard tree,
Those men of blade and saw.
They will not remember the birth,
The texture of bark,
The idea of sap flowing as blood,
You and I
Recalling days under the overhang of leaves,
Our ankles entwined in thick, cool moss.
Those men cannot know this tree,
They will not mourn its absence.
Only we will shield our eyes from a blinding sun
That breaks through where
A rooted womb once grew.