Those Who Speak to Trees Remember
Trees have ancestors, a lineage, a history. Father tells Brother and I
as he waters his hybrids.
Mother coos to citrus leaves and
reminds us of the canyon and desert
in us, the Indian and Mexican
of us, how we are grafted like our citrus trees
that drop grapefruits to roof, then tumble to ground,
their skin splits—and jeweled flesh glistens gold beneath
white membrane, tiny sour tears. Brother was once
afraid of those sounds, the way the yellow spheres
rolled from roof to ground. Splats of grapefruits made him
fear sleep in his own room. We used to climb past
the tangelo tree, past bright pebbled skin to reach
garage roof where we played war with neighborhood kids,
throwing dropped fruit at each other. In the lazy heat of summer,
we soured with sweat and dirt, licked trails of ripe juice from our hands.
Brother’s friends remember him and our trees, the sweetness of our lemons.
Now when his friends visit, even a year after his death,
they sit in the backyard of our parent’s house, drink beer, talk
to the orange trees and listen to falling globes of citrus. I listen to the rustle
of leaves, the way fruit sings of Brother, an echo in the wind.
This selection comes from the book, Brother Bullet, available from University of Arizona Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Sarah Clark .
Casandra López is a California Indian (Cahuilla/Tongva/Luiseño) and Chicana writer who has received support from CantoMundo, Bread Loaf, and Tin House. She’s the author of the poetry collection, Brother Bullet and has been selected for residencies with the School of Advanced Research, Storyknife, Hedgebrook and Headlands Center for the Arts. Her memoir-in-progress, A Few Notes on Grief was granted a 2019 James W. Ray Venture Project Award. She’s a founding editor of As/ Us and teaches at Northwest Indian College.
Sarah Clark is a disabled non-binary Nanticoke editor, writer, and cultural consultant. They are Editor-in-Chief and Poetry Editor at Anomaly (www.anmly.org
), Co-Editor of the Bettering American Poetry series (www.betteringamericanpoetry.com
) and The Queer Movement Anthology (Seagull Books, 2021), a reader at The Atlas Review and Doubleback Books, and an Editorial Board member at Sundress Press. She curated Anomaly‘s GLITTERBRAIN folio (http://anmly.org/ap25-glitterbrain/
) and a folio on Indigenous & Decolonial Futures & Futurisms (http://anmly.org/ap-27-indigenous-futures/
), edited Drunken Boat’s folios on Sound Art, “Desire & Interaction,” and a collection of global indigenous art and literature, “First Peoples, Plural.” They were co-editor of Apogee Journal‘s #NoDAPL #Still Here folio, and co-edited Apogee Journal‘s series “WE OUTLAST EMPIRE,” of work against imperialism, and “Place[meant]“, on place and meaning, and is a former Executive Board member at VIDA. Sarah freelances, and has worked with a number of literary and arts publications and organizations. www.twitter.com/petitobjetb