It’s Not the Trees’ Fault

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December 22, 2016 by The Citron Review

by Charles Cantrell


I’d rather make love to a tree’s knothole
than read most poems about trees.
It’s not the trees’ fault
that I hate poems about trees.
The last time I really thought about trees,
a woman in class, wearing a T-shirt with a big logo
of a chestnut, read some Randall Jarrell,
with a North Carolina accent. God bless her!
I was joking about making love to a tree.

I could’ve fallen in love
with that woman. She knew the difference
between black oak, red oak, black ash, green ash
and showed me in a book, which brought me to
If trees rise from the darkness of the world,
as Jarrell wrote, maybe they’re more a part
of us than we’re willing to admit, and unlike us,
they only take the light they need.


Charles Cantrell has poems in recent issues of Mudfish, Confrontation, Soundings East, UCity Review, Free State Review, District Lit and Exit 7, with others forthcoming in Seven Circle Press and Appalachian Heritage. A full-length manuscript, Wild Wreckage, was a semi-finalist in the 2016 Brittingham and Pollak Awards from the University of Wisconsin Press. He’s been twice nominated for Pushcart Prize in poetry.


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