The Tree That Owns Itself
After a tree that stands in Athens, GA.
The only free thing left in this godforsaken town
stands on the outskirts, like an ancient guard dog,
like a sentinel whose only weapon is to outlast.
Craning in silent judgment over any passing stranger
who dares stray in search of a Helen. This tree
will decide for itself where its loyalties lie,
and it has decided. The son of the original tree,
the tall white oaken spit and image of its father,
a glad replacement ever since the townspeople left
country comfort and went over there a second time.
Many fell. Its father was counted among the dead,
that hardy forebear which had survived even
Sherman’s blows finally laid low. Up sprang the smallest offshoot.
Here lies the father, here grows the son,
a tall white oak among peach-bearing brethren,
a last stand against Southern possession,
a last stand for Southern pride. No Trojan can look
without trembling. A new horse for a new Greece.
Cecilia Gigliotti is a writer, musician, and amateur travel photographer. Much of her creative and academic work deals with pop music, childhood trauma, and things famous people have said when they thought no one was listening. She holds the MA in English Literature from Central Connecticut State University, where her poem “Igor Stravinsky Awaits the Arrival of Dylan Thomas” won Blue Muse magazine’s 2018 Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize. Her essays and poems have appeared in several other anthologies and publications, including Outrageous Fortune, Transformations, and New Rivers Press’s Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan. A New England native, she currently resides in Berlin, Germany, where she writes for the Inkitt company and their Galatea app.
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