The process of

dying requires trees.

Has someone told you

yet about how they can burry

a seed in your ashes, so a tree can grow

a tree of your dust. I imagine biting into an apple

full of dust. This is Ash Wednesday memories; thumb

to burning forehead. I want a confessional large enough to fit

the whole burning star. I want a god big enough for me. A tree

strange enough to take root in molten body. You animals with you

sense of ritual. You animals with your peace and dirt and planting. I

should plant a stone in my mouth and call it tongue. I should tear a tree

out from the surface but there are none left. I see their ghosts behind my eyes.

This is me, the sun. This is me the sun whose father planted a pine tree in the yard.

This is me, the star wishing my death could be ashes. A quick removal by wind. A quick

handful of after. I turn the planets over in my mouth, each giving in to dust. I pretend they

are still seeds, that there is still a place left out in the darkness where I might take the roundness

and deposit it, watch it grow, ache with all haunting. Bark twisting with skin. Roots deep in dying.

What should a star know of foliage? I had a lover who didn’t know I loved him. I had a lover who

tucked a red flower behind her ear once. This body is a burial for all the bodies I have not grasped.

I don’t want a tree, I need a tree. A birthmark of shade to curl up under. Permission to be small.

I expand. Take up space. Planet under tongue. Sense of choking. Flower under tongue. Tree.

ROBIN GOW‘s poetry has recently been published in POETRY, the Gateway Review, and tilde. He is a graduate student at Adelphi University pursing an MFA in Creative Writing. He is the Editor at Large for Village of Crickets, Social Media Coordinator for Oyster River Pages and interns for Porkbelly Press. He is an out and proud bisexual transgender man passionate about LGBT issues. He loves poetry that lilts in and out of reality and his queerness is also the central axis of his work.

  • If you had to brag about yourself: I know a lot of facts about octopuses

  • Your writer crush: Frank O’Hara

  • Favorite lyric: It’s okay to eat fish because they don’t have any feelings (Nirvana)

  • Guilty literary pleasure: Makeup Tutorials