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by ShelliRae Spotts

In another life I was a tree, and
you shook my branches, pulling
your weight into my center, nestling
among my limbs like a swallow, dark-winged
against the dream of sky.

I saw the winter come, and then
the leaves, fluttering like discarded skins,
veins stitched across a map of desire
and devotion. You took wing,

Seeking shelter in my measured dirge as
I sank roots deep, slumbering beneath
the pilgrim moon, dreaming Glorias felt
more keenly in your absence.

The hush of murmured hymns modulate
into minor, ice burned harmonies leaving
behind the taste of minutes and hours,
the hungry green of growth and decay,

Before quickening, waking with limbs
heavy, sap bled; a ragged stigmata
forcing open bedrock and floating
in black-edged flame. What is this

sky-reaching divinity? Is it to stand, stricken
at the loss of what you yearn to hold
close? Or ripping out your warm, wet center
and holding it, dripping, in silent supplication?

The time of vigils past, I stretch my branches into
cathedrals, a sacrament of forgotten grace.