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.

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