As with my first non-fiction post, I wrote this poem in my last year of college. It was one of those poems that took thought and time but was so incredibly satisfying when I finished it.
My teacher at the time was a man I highly respected (still do), and he called it “brilliant.” I damn near cried right there in class.
I hope you like it!
The Redwoods must burn to release their seeds.
Each tree standing sports blackened skin,
A black scar to declare itself a parent.
And when they die,
They fall far to the ground,
To become a nursery.
Its descendants burrow their roots
Into its rotting fibers and feed off the nutrients of its sacrifice.
In a forest where thousand-year-old trees sprout
From trees dead a thousand years,
History is buried beneath our feet.
My grandmother, gone now seven years,
Lost a daughter young to cancer,
Endured a drunkard for a husband,
And taught me that life can be cruel,
But I will always survive.
And on the day when her heart could bear this life no longer,
She gave it permission to let go.
Now she is the foundation from which I grow,
Her charred bark feeding me strength
To make my own mark on history.
They grow from their dead.
So do we.