Comrade by Laurie Byro

Comrade

In Memory of Adrienne Rich

The tree I split open, rushed me, all limbs
and sap, sad seeds wayward and determined

to stray and take root. Next year in spring,
there will be a new row of them, poised to break

into battle, their blossoms will cover the earth
with pink spirals of hope. For now, it is winter.

The eldest stretches its old limbs toward the sky
scattered with dandelion stars. I stand in the dark

blowing questions to the moon’s unblinking eye.
I mustn’t forget the tree I split open could roar

with sweet syrup if I tap into it this March.
I mustn’t forget the worst that can happen already

has. In times like these—when we were not
allowed to speak so urgently of trees.

by Laurie Byro

Editor’s Note: The last tragic enjambment (from the sixth stanza to the final one) underscores the difficulty of grief.