Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2019

A Black Walnut Tree

A Black Walnut Tree
Photograph via Flickr by Dave Bonta

We watch the black walnut trees
wallow their faces in the muddy river,
                        spring buds hanging into the branches
                                                unaffected like younglings

& I don’t tell you about the nightmare
I had so this early morning,
                        right before sunrise

when I lost my mind for a while
                        like a mother mourning sons
                        like a hailed black walnut tree
                                                defrocked
                                                of bud blanket
                                                              & birdsong.

A hero is a black walnut tree
                        in the heart of Oklahoma
                        scarred by poisoned penknives
                                                one too many times

                                                struck by thunder
                                                like a terrible morning nightmare.

When we kill a black walnut tree,
we have         killed them all,
                        hushed forest into prairie,
                                                frayed our dear hearts

& how peaceful it is
                        when you pull me in,
                        drive my forehead onto your shoulder

& how peaceful
& how happy we have been
& how this very day changes everything.