I Want to Come Back as a Live Oak
Quercus Virginina, curvy southern hardwood,
fooling the ignorant, like me, thinking she’s deciduous
and sheds her growth. I want to come back
with wise beards, hung mossy from my lips
and ferns transcendent up my spine.
I want my shadow, a restful place,
offering palmettos refuge to fan the air.
I want unbridled views of sunsets and sunrises,
foresight of clouds and storms rolling in—
a chance to live and love a thousand years,
cactuses spiked in my hollows, limbs,
swaying slow motion, leaves, crinkling melodies.
I want to wear an air plant in my hair,
bromeliads perfumed at my feet; skin, ant-tickled,
sweet water brew, deep in my veins.
I want to drink from my own barrel,
sap spiced with cirrus wisps and cumulous cream,
swallow my fill, sprawled and sunning.
I want to come back as a Live Oak;
expansive above lightning fire,
broken boughs gifted like snakeskin,
humans, at their best, small and humbled,
looking up at in awe, transfixed and transformed.
I want to come back deep-rooted and connected,
destined to shelter, knowing I never harmed,
rope burns and dangling body weight
extinct, lynching, a fabled landscape.
Lisa Wujnovich writes poetry and farms at Mountain Dell Farm in Hancock, NY. She is the author of the chapbooks, Fieldwork, 2012 (Finishing Line Press) and This Place Called Us, 2008 (Stockport Flats Press). She co-edited the anthology, The Lake Rises, 2013, (Stockport Flats Press). Her poetry can be found in anthologies, journals, online platforms and eco-justice publications. She holds an MFA in poetry from Drew University. She is the mother of two dynamite adults.