Poems from “No Need of Sympathy”

Sugar, Sugar


It was the trees, their amazing xylem and phloem.

It was the paper-thin cambium layer that made both wood and bark.

It was the leaves that took in carbon dioxide, released oxygen,

and sent the sugars down. It was the sugars, for sure, that ran

everything, the result of all that tossing around, that sucking in

rain, that fluttering evaporation. It was my first Pepsi, its sugar-

fizz, and the frozen orange clouds of the Dreamsicle, the slow

caramel centers of the Milky Way, the pure refined sugar

of them, concentrated, lighting up my body, for I was then

growing like a tree, wanting to get somewhere fast. It was my

mother and my father, the parts of me pushing and pulling,

the strain, the gathering into a bud, into the breast-buds,

into the flowering, the sugary colors of my flowering,

the Cover Girl Hot Pink lipstick, the henna hair rinse, staining

my fingertips red. It was so far away, so far from the tip

of a tree to the ground, yet the waters traveled through the narrow

tubes and arrived from roots and leaves, and the trunk slowly

thickened with its quiescent heartwood that shored up

all the rest, that was, really, quite finished with all the rest,

that let itself be wrapped by the sugar-hyped layers, so it could

think. It was not really thinking. What was it doing,

not bothering to call itself happy or sad?