where you are planted

By Evie Shockley Evie Shockley
he’s as high as a georgia pine, my father’d say, half laughing. southern trees
as measure, metaphor. highways lined with kudzu-covered southern trees.
 
fuchsia, lavender, white, light pink, purple : crape myrtle bouquets burst
open on sturdy branches of skin-smooth bark : my favorite southern trees.
 
one hundred degrees in the shade : we settle into still pools of humidity, moss-
dark, beneath live oaks. southern heat makes us grateful for southern trees.
 
the maples in our front yard flew in spring on helicopter wings. in fall, we
splashed in colored leaves, but never sought sap from these southern trees.
 
frankly, my dear, that’s a magnolia, i tell her, fingering the deep green, nearly
plastic leaves, amazed how little a northern girl knows about southern trees.
 
i’ve never forgotten the charred bitter fruit of holiday’s poplars, nor will i :
it’s part of what makes me evie :  i grew up in the shadow of southern trees.

Evie Shockley, “where you are planted” from the new black. Copyright © 2011 by Evie Shockley. Reprinted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: the new black (Wesleyan University Press, )

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Poet Evie Shockley

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Nature, Trees & Flowers

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse, Ghazal

 Evie  Shockley

Biography

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, poet Evie Shockley earned a BA at Northwestern University, a JD at the University of Michigan, and a PhD in English literature at Duke University. The author of several collections of poetry, including a half-red sea (2006) and the new black (2011), Shockley is also the author of the critical volume Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Nature, Trees & Flowers

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse, Ghazal

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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