Pine Tree

I was sitting inside my 2006 Saturn Vue
in my parent’s garage, and you calmed me.

You are the same tree
that knew me, then. Myself.

I was a bleeding child inside. My purple
ideas were smashed silent by Grandpa Mose’s fists.

Now, you are bruised and missing pieces of yourself.
Somehow you are still standing outside, rooted.

Alive. I know I need to see you this way,
to see myself more clearly.

You are your own behind my granddaddy Silas’
fading red fence, needling the sky’s breath. Medicine,

you are woodworking. With all my reverence I praise
your knotted parts. I ask
permission to cut

your needles, to boil them.
I ask you to bless my new home.

Marlanda Dekine’s forthcoming collection, Thresh & Hold, won the New Southern Voices Poetry Prize and will be published by Hub City Press in 2022. Dekine is the creator of the spoken word project, i am from a punch & a kiss. Their poems have been published or are forthcoming in POETRY, Emergence Magazine, Southern Humanities Review, Oxford American, the Poetry Out Loud Anthology, OROBORO, and elsewhere. Dekine is a poet obsessed with ancestry, memory, and the process of staying within one’s own body, leaving spells and incantations for others to follow for themselves. Dekine lives in South Carolina with their wise dog.