Reunion, by Robert Kinsley

I lived in Ohio for a while and it was not my favourite place on Earth, for sure.  I liked this poem because it anthropomorphizes trees…I love that. One of my all time favourite comics does the same.





Here past the edge of town,

this one as well as any other

in the Adirondacks, the trees lock arms

and lean into each other like

relatives at a family reunion.

This is some history; listen to the names,

Sugar Maple, Black Spruce, Wild Cherry,

Sweet Birch, the old White Oaks. On and

on into the hillsides until my tongue rolls

and I whisper Ohio, imagining this is what it was

one hundred years ago, imagining this is what

whispered in the ear of Tecumseh, who fought for it

for twenty years, knowing when he started he couldn’t

win, but who fought and lost anyway, imagining

this is what whispered to my great grandfather

Marvin Peabody, when he dropped down out of the

Northeast. Who left when he heard his neighbors

unfolding the arms of trees with axes and bucksaws

and headed west, rubbing the fine dust from his eyes.

But came back when he saw that like Ohio, that too

was lost. He came back I suppose because he had

nowhere else to go. Or maybe he just liked the name

Ohio. And why not. Whisper it now, whisper

Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, and amid the miles of concrete,

under the culverts dumping waste, around the smokestacks

over by the river, a breeze picks up

sending a ripple, like a litany

through the family of tree.


– Robert Kinsley


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