‘Wind, Tree’ and other poems
By: Brandon McQuade
The sun is a yellow axe
chopping at our backs.
A single, barren tree
its branches splayed
in the open air. Veiny,
naked limbs longing
for a companion,
settling for the wind.
FIVE BEATING HEARTS
Witness the worms wriggling
on the side of the road
after an evening of rain
as if they, too, have fallen.
When I was a kid, I loved
to watch them squirm.
Once, on my way to the bus,
I held one up to my mouth
and ate it. Blood and dirt
pulsing between my teeth
like five beating hearts.
I don’t know why I did it.
Because I could, I guess.
And I wanted to be noticed.
We’re pulling weeds in the backyard
when I notice the grass has grown
like vines, long green arms reaching
and reaching from the quiet shade
of the trampoline. The mower stretches
to the edges, barely making a dent
in the dense green. I keep waiting
for a slither to happen. A hiss, even.
As if this disheveled grass were a terrarium
or a forest. You’d think it would be dead.
The grass, I mean. Lying there alone,
masked from sunlight, consuming nothing
but drops of water siphoned through
a thin black ocean of polypropylene.
I am always personifying everything.
Giving faces to the faceless. Trying,
desperately, to name the nameless.
Not out of fear, I don’t think.
But to feel and go on living.
Brandon McQuade is the founding editor of Duck Head Journal and the author of two poetry collections, Mango Seed and Bodies. He earned his B.A. from the University of New Brunswick Saint John and his M. Phil in Irish Writing from Trinity College Dublin. For a selection of poems from his second collection, Bodies, he was the recipient of the 2022 Neltje Blanchan Memorial Writing Award. He lives in Northern Wyoming with his wife and their children.