did i mention i came to the city suspicious? after all
every indian of a certain age (yes, indian, to frame this)
knows that cities eat indians. of course, there’s the trick.
i am anishinabekwe, lnuskw also, and polish by matrilineage.
i came looking for some fabled southland that sang to me
in dreams all through my bloom-poor childhood
and imagined this as a portal to there. and so it was.
but i fell, if you want to know, in love, because
the very first spring, that first terrible spring, it was may
and blossoms reigned above the streets. my father died
on my first day of work. not a metaphor. we fell into grief
and i walked for weeks, walked shoes off my feet, measured
myself against loss and the dignity of work, and looked up
for light, for a reason to believe in love. well, then it isn’t
that i fell; but you could say, walking to work, walking
home, pulling new clothes round my shoulders
i rose, into my own self, possible. if trees could
This last poem of 30 poems in 30 days, for National Poetry Month, brings me to a point some 31 years ago now, when i arrived in this city. I’ve left. I’ve lived oceans away from here, in the southlands, in the far east, in mountains, and yet i return. This spring, my suspicions are confirmed; among my raspberry canes, a tree has arisen. My elder neighbour told me to check it last fall, as it seemed to her she should tell me, the old man who once gardened here had grown mayday trees along that fence, maybe a root survived. This spring, there are irrefutably, blossoms on what is suddenly a tree.