Sitting in the Japanese Maple at 32 Hickory Road, Wellesley, Massachusetts by Jennifer van Alstyne

Sitting in the Japanese Maple at 32 Hickory Road, Wellesley, Massachusetts

Often I'd climb to the crown of the tree,
The best hiding spot for hide and seek;
Or burrow into snow,
Not notice cold seeping through my coat.
I made a cave surrounded by Christmas lights
When I crawled underneath a low-lying bush.
But the Japanese Maple was my favorite:
Branches not covered in sap, maroon leaves, roots
Covered by brown mulch. My mother planted daffodils
The years before Benzos and Xanax
In the 2' round of mulch below, that bright sun.
I perched at the tip, swaying in dark clouds,
Wasps disturbed by the weight of my topsiders.
They never stung me but crawled back
Into combed halls confused by my silence.

 

Jennifer van Alstyne has been published in the Eunoia Review, Crack the Spine, Midwest Literary Magazine, The Monmouth Review, The Foundling Review, Paper Nautilus, Poetry Quarterly, and Whiskey Traveler. She holds an MFA from the Jack Kerouac School where she was the Jack Kerouac Fellow. She is currently a graduate fellow at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Elijah Tubbs