“Laurel” by Inez Tan

Inez Tan


A tree is not anyone’s ward, not anyone’s burden, not anyone’s future
wife. If someone looked at a tree with lust, most of us would find that
disturbing. If someone rubbed up against a tree, most of us would try to
get that person help. No tree is told it can’t sit at another tree’s table. No
tree is in thrall to a meritocracy. No tree lays a hand on another tree’s
neck. Trees don’t actually have particular preferences for anyone. Trees
think the same of one another in and out of their clothes. Safe in
themselves, as themselves, they are better off not touching or obstructing
each other’s light. The woods are as glorious as the tree that stands alone.

from Rattle #54, Winter 2016


Inez Tan: “While poetry often serves to open discussions about difference, what I have always loved most is the way it transcends differences to bring people together. When you read a poem, you grow closer to the person who wrote it, even if you were born centuries and continents apart. It’s in poetry that I find I can write most directly about what I feel, and what I know to be true—even or especially when the poem itself takes an indirect approach.” (web)

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