Chokecherry Tree

My poem, Chokecherry Tree, was inspired by a line from Toni Morrison's Beloved:

Some things go. Pass on. Some things just stay.


Flesh smelted up and down,
wrought iron, skin an intricate design.
Spines sculpted with deliberation,
carved up by whips and switches.
Gnarled wounds transmogrify --
a chokecherry tree. Purpled
fruit rotted, seeded new generations.

Welted vines creep
into my lungs. I run
through the streets. My pain
ignites cities. Smoke cracks crazy.
I sniff white lines buzz
without relief. I need
inspiration. Gasping, I suck
on the medicine of words.

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