Thursday, February 28, 2008

Two themed poems by Elizabeth Kate Switaj

Two poems
by Elizabeth Kate Switaj
Theme: Trees


Tell the tree you're sick of it
Help peel its bark away
and grind it down to paint in red
confession was madrone
and what you sped was not life
to death with beetle curlicues
and you could cut her down

branches would not dry to roots
could not grow hairs instead of leaves
Even if you could succeed

only wind may bury branches
while raising what supported to exposed
We know how to pray for rain but
what do we know ?


Planted to Survive

tree sells its body
to all who pass by
car or foot or bike

tree sells its body
stripping gray by strip
yes flesh is crayon brown

to all who pass by
if they look & more
if they don't

some take leaves crisp curled yellow tan
tree sells its body
in-to their homes

signal season
to all who pass by
windows bordered left uncurtained

tree sells its body
broken into twigs seeds bark & spread
to all who pass by . . .

Author bio:

Elizabeth Kate Switaj ( has two books of poetry forthcoming: How to Drink a Floral Moon from Blue Lion Books and Magdalene and the Mermaids from Paper Kite Press. Her chapbook, The Broken Sanctuary: Nature Poems, is currently available from Ypolita Press, and her short stories have appeared in various anthologies, including Ruins Extraterrestrial from Hadley Rille Books. When not writing, she teaches English at Shengda College of Zhengzhou University in rural China and edits Crossing Rivers Into Twilight (

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