I am living a life. I will love it regardless.
There is no other option. What I feel is love.
I’ll run my hands along tree skin, feel it rough
or smooth. I am the only one who knows why
this tree grows crooked. Its leaves make shadows
on my skin. I sprawl, spiral, die. So what if I called
it a baby. Instead of a baby, I put a tree in the ground.
I dig a hole with my hands. My fingernails. My stone
lungs. My jackhammer heart. I massage the roots.
So what if I called it a baby. So what if it could have
had his hair, his perfect brows. I return the dirt
to its hole with one hand, hold the tree’s thin stalk
steady with my other. I hold myself at the ribcage.
I am the thing stitching myself together. So what.
Born and raised in rural Nevada, Rachel Ronquillo Gray is a Kundiman, Pink Door, and VONA fellow. Her work appears in Hyphen Magazine, Tahoma Literary Review, Digging Through the Fat, Radar Poetry, and other places. She
currently lives, writes, and makes food in Bloomington, Indiana.