Let me show you to the tree, which we rescued from 2C
(or were gifted). What happened was, moving out, she’d put it in the hall
for trash. And trash it was, with leaves that rained and
trailed the whole way to our door. Take it, she said. And so
we did, the ruined five-foot growth. At home,
we were two people who had never really lost a thing grieving
for a tree not dead. She moved away
to stop her boyfriend breaking down the door. He punched
his way inside each night because his mother, I think, or someone
close had died, and he had gone wrecking ball with the loss.
Strung out, she would crouch behind as he pounded; it sounded
like he could crush the neighborhood.
When she moved, so did he. We watered
the tree, celebrated that trouble had gone elsewhere.
That was five years ago.
The tree is so beautiful now.
You should see it, thriving.
Who knows if they’re alive.
MRB CHELKOis the author of several chapbooks, including Songs & Yes and Manhattations. Chelko’s recent work appears in Black Warrior Review, The Cincinnati Review, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast, Slice, and Poetry International. A faculty mentor in the low-residency MFA program of The New Hampshire Institute of Art, she also serves as associate editor of the unbound journal Tuesday; An Art Project and co-hosts the quarterly NYC performance series BUFFET.