“In Today’s Fantasy: Trees, Poems, and Sex” by Francesca Moroney

Francesca Moroney


Before you died, you promised me
a book of poetry. It was the day
we planted the maple. We sprawled
in the dirt beside our newest sapling.
You asked what I wanted for
my birthday. A pair of wooly socks?
Vial of sandalwood oil?
Tube of rose-scented cream?
I watched you smile, waiting
for me to decide. On the street
over your left shoulder, passing cars,
a dog and its human, pollen
painting everything green.
Perhaps some sonnets?
I grew warm, anticipating
thinly-veiled eroticism
oozing from each sestet. Oh!
Free verse! I declared, excited now,
wanting poems a bit subversive,
poems as unafraid as you and I,
poems loud enough to declare
our most basic desires: fuck, cum,
on your knees. What is it that I miss
the most? The feel of your mouth
moving over me while I
read Neruda to you beneath
the duvet? Or the way we loved
to lie beneath the trees?
In today’s fantasy, you have lived
long enough for us to lounge
again in the yard. You teach me
Cornus florida and Aesculu pavia.
We have already identified
Acer palmatum, with leaves
so red I sometimes tremble
in the presence of all that heat.
In today’s fantasy, we unwrap
the book you have given me,
and then we take the poems
to bed. We tear them
with our teeth. We suck
each stanza and caesura
until the poems glow
rich and red, as fierce
and fiery as the bloom
of Japanese maple.
In today’s fantasy, you and I
are the leaves blazing through
this late autumnal light,
moments before we fall.

from Poets Respond
November 19, 2023


Francesca Moroney: “Kenya’s plan to plant 100 million trees strikes me as an act of both great optimism and great mourning. The fact that our earth is in such dire need of replenishment merely underscores the extent of all that has been stripped from it. Sometimes it feels like that on a personal level, as well. No matter how much we plant, we will never find a way to compensate for all that has been lost. ” (web)

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