Jill Charles & r & "The street tree in the poem," says Jill Charles, "is one of five flame maples I helped plant in 2003 with my coworkers at Capitol Hill Housing, a Seattle nonprofit." Charles grew up in Spokane and writes for Tablet, an arts and culture magazine based in Seattle and Portland. She has a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Seattle University.
The Street Tree & r & I wonder if the street tree & r & Dreams of living. & r & Does it hate its patch of earth & r & Ringed with cigarette butts and beer cans? & r & Does the tree despise the metal grate & r & That anchors it in the sidewalk?
Its maple leaves stretch out & r & Green shade in the summer & r & Canada red in the autumn.
Does this flame maple dream & r & Of woods of alder and larch? & r & Does its xylem remember songs & r & Of killdeer and cedar waxwings? & r & Would the tree rather grow among ferns, & r & Salmonberries and trilliums like happy ghosts?
I dream of the Black Forest and Appalachian Trail & r & Vermont hills red with sugar maple & r & And the cold pine breath of the Tongass. & r & Why did I come to this city? & r & Why did I plant this tree?
You say it is hopeless here & r & Our country is a prison & r & You will roll away like a tumbleweed & r & And kiss America goodbye.
But I know green leaves are the antidote & r & I will stand here & r & Stretching my ordinary limbs & r & To shade some tired face.
I asked my mother once & r & Why she had children. & r & She said to me, & r & "Someone has to save the world."
Laurie Klein & r & Laurie Klein, 54, has written narrative and lyric poems for eight years, studies with area writers and visiting poets whenever possible, and has an award-winning chapbook, Bodies of Water, Bodies of Flesh. Her entry reflects her struggle with her uncle's suicide.
A Tree Shaded the Room Where He Told Her & r & The willow outside had seemed to kneel. & r & Watching the storm with her father, the girl & r & scalded her mouth on cocoa. He didn't & r & notice. He told her the latest. She & r & babied her tongue, its patchy emery & r & motionless, raw. Even at 10, she perceived
pivotal moments via their settings, the way & r & they were lit -- take the room that day: & r & blue walls revealed in spasms, lightning & r & riding pillion with thunder, her father's words & r & like migraines she still gets, neon wheels & r & and flares. Into her imagination
he fleshed out a tree at dawn, her uncle, & r & hanging. She might have been celluloid, almost & r & opaque, a reel of film curled in its can. Later, & r & images would develop, floating face up, & r & ghosting in dark rooms, a film noir & r & spliced over time. To this day she dislikes
willows, which neither weep nor shade & r & the room where she thinks of her father today, & r & and Uncle Dunkle -- men who hoarded & r & their separate wars, and likely replayed scenes & r & only with comrades who wouldn't ask & r & whom they'd killed, or how, which made them feel
safe. She knows horror's fumes, stealthy & r & as fixatives, escape their containers. Back then, & r & hearing her father's news made her feel & r & chosen. Later, a squall felled her willow, & r & leaving the room exposed. Her father & r & carted away its trunk, left a rotting stump.
Michael Steele & r & Michael Steele is an MFA candidate in the creative writing program at Eastern Washington University, where he has worked as poetry editor of Willow Springs.
Cornus florida & r & In the front yard the dogwood draws the line & r & between beauty and purpose while its bracts & r & maintain a cardinal array. Such deception & r & in thinking these appendages petals.
Light filters through foliage, & r & green on the backs of my hands & r & as I inspect the true flower, & r & yellow-green at the center of each blossom.
I move my fingers over bract and flower then back, & r & pollen sticking to skin. A breeze swims through & r & the branches and I tremble. & r & Its leaves quake and shimmer in early summer
but the bracts do not fall. With patience & r & the fruit comes as a shy voice & r & in autumnal air, but for now a quiet flower & r & absorbs light and touch.
Jack Leininger & r & Leininger grew up on a ranch in central Montana. "The trees and images in this poem are from an old ranch house where I grew up, and from an abandoned homestead" near Lewistown, he says. Leininger, a juvenile probation officer in Spokane, has been writing poetry for 15 years.
Cottonwood & r & Collapsed walls & r & Of the 1915 farmhouse & r & Lie in a heap, & r & A bone yard of broken dreams. & r & Clumps of crested wheatgrass & r & And wild asparagus & r & Cover & r & The memory of a garden.
Three cottonwood trees & r & Two dead & r & Stand & r & A shadow's length & r & From the crumbled foundation.
One barely alive & r & (A single branch has leaves) & r & Beckons: & r & Sit beneath my shade; & r & It's not too late & r & To dream & r & Again.
The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.