“Elegy with Trees” by Alyssa Jewel

Elegy with Trees

By Alyssa Jewel


With audio recorded by the author:


The hickories bear witness
to the light which bears witness to disease:

inching of blisters
across yellow-tipped leaves, branches

desolate after morning fall–
which is all, really, to say,

every day in your absence,
I take less comfort in the growth of living things.

I tried knowing my neighbors more openly,

for in your coldness about life,
my clay legs learned

to walk the earth’s beaches
where the stones didn’t cut.

They pressed against the ends of my body knowingly–

I shook off December naturally.

I learned a variation of spring so well
that when I came across a fox, slim and skulking

along the highway, its mouth opened unto me
to seek green shelter and milk and a bit of daylight–

its best season thieved.
I was, you see, on the verge of peace,

and everyone felt it in me–
could drink it from me.

I didn’t mind. I liked to feel useful.
The world was mine to give.

No, it wasn’t. I reach for the soreness

in the closed off bud– continue
to fall in love with all I cannot save.



Alyssa Jewell recently graduated from Western Michigan University with an MFA in Creative Writing and holds an M.Ed. in TESOL from Grand Valley State University. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2016, Colorado Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Lake Effect, Quarterly West, Quiddity, and Zone 3, among other publications. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where she teaches college poetry and ESL courses.