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An Epiphany on Dia de Los Muertos

November 2, 2014


An Epiphany on Dia de Los Muertos

if ever you desire to plant a tree for me
please make it a sycamore
or some other soft leafed tree
one with foliage that unfurls in spring
twisting twirling gals
who dance in green flannel gowns

a tree who shades
laughing picnickers
children with olives on their fingers
lounging longing lovers on the lawn
grandparents who feel the edge of time
nod and move from sun
to nap, to sleep

please plant for me a sycamore
or some other deciduous tree
where fall first shows in leaves
going gold along edges
crisp with autumn air
they float and fly off
roam the sky to land
be swept into piles

green organs gone reveal the skeleton
white balletic bones of winter
graceful slender fingers point to moon, to stars
sun fills summer’s shadows
and so when the life in this body is gone
please don’t plant for me an oak
no matter how lustrous the acorn
or luminous the winter leaves
those ever green sharp-edged leaves

please keep my feet wet
please plant for me
a sycamore


gwendolyn alley
November 1 and 2, 2014
Pacifica Graduate Institute
Santa Barbara, CA
for Dr Christine Downing and Robin Malcom
and in memory of Dr. James Hillman
for whom an oak was the perfect choice


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