Minnesota Love

Minnesota Love

 

In the cold winter

you pulled back the leaves

that grew from your fingers

and tapped your own neck for the syrup of its sap

 

In lumberjack plaid,

you frosted the air

Drove cigarette spigots into your bark

and packaged yourself pretty and plastic

for curious red-cheeked off-season tourists.

 

Long ago

we once walked to the river

Minnesota crackled fall in the air

and you looked at me long enough

to kiss me with your eyes

 

You had already begun to crumble

I heard your branches creak in the night

and watched them knife up your wrists in red scars

but I was just an awestruck wanderer in your woods, and

what did I know of botany?

 

There was a time once,

on the bus,

when you took my hand and you told me you loved me

And I glowed like the moon and the neon passing lights combined.

 

Ours was the force that drove those wheels

that lit those lights

that turned the whole world.

 

But it’s the turning of the world that changes the seasons

and no amount of scaffolding can save a dying tree

And the day you sold me a pretty box of maple candy,

I knew it was time to start walking south.

 

I’m in Mexico now, but I wrote you a postcard:

I said,

I’m still wearing my Norwegian sweater

and some days, I can’t see past the freezing of my breath.

 

And I know you think your fall is helpless

haltless

You yelled your timber! a long time ago

and now you’re just waiting for the echoes to fade

before you can

finally

just

drop

to the

ground

 

 

But did you know

that tree roots crack bedrock

to grow their way through?

 

And when trees are thirsty,

they pull groundwater

from pores murky in the earth

and release it to thrashing thunderstorms above

 

And even when they are struck by lightning

their atoms never, ever, disappear.

 

I know this as a fact.

And I know that you –

 

stronger than bedrock

sharper than your knives

brighter than lightning

clearer than rain –

 

you

will find your way tilting back to the sun

 

And you will glow so brightly that

I will navigate by your north star light

all the way back to your side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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