WHAT YOU MUST (NOT) DO by Emma Moser On days when the roots scratch again, Here is what you must do: You must remember to step out and stand beside the young tree fine and short as you, whose thin limbs cross to hide a bulbous face, whose ruffled fingers dangle above the small St. Francis like a dome, whose pink flowers, wrinkled, lay strewn about to make you think of tattered weddings, remnants of a two-week spring quickly reclaimed by cold. On days when you love that tree, Here is what you must not do: You must remember not to linger, not to settle within those single dead flowers as the metaphor of yourself, as the one glimpse in this pretty thing of the old tree inside, the thick branches that clawed through your every softness to stiffen you, the dry roots mangled deep to make your own body too heavy to carry. On days when you cannot forget trees, Here is what you must remember: For or against you, Their growth has meaning But not a motive.
Emma Moser is an MFA candidate for fiction at Southern Connecticut State University. Her multi-genre work has appeared or is forthcoming at over 20 literary venues, including Neos Alexandria, Prairie Margins, The 3288 Review, and Cheat River Review. She is also a contributor at Writers Get Together and the creator of the blog Antiquarian Desiderium, which can be found at antiquedwriter.blogspot.com.