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To the Man Who Stole the Trees We Planted in Memory of My Brother-In-Law Who Killed Himself Earlier in the Spring

by Jenny Browne

May they grow tall, branches full of reddish-purple seeds that spit
on your pickup truck and choke in the throats of your gutters.

May they bring grackles and more grackles.

May there be fungus. May there be allergies. May the wind shove
a scratching to your bedroom window, disturbing the dream where
you float the whole afternoon down a radiant river with a second
inner tube clutching your ice chest of beer

and trading it for one where a man stands alone in a freshly dug hole
and the rain grows nothing but deeper.

May the reincarnation of his dumb cat piss your Dallas Cowboys pillow repeatedly.
May his Fleetwood Mac shiver the crusty dishes in your sink.
May your rooms be repainted with his second-to-last really bad choice

of maroon. May you too be marooned, surrounded and drowning
when the roots finally reach your pipes and break them as a man breaks

a pencil in his fist and leaves
not the reason.


Formerly a James Michener Fellow in Poetry at the University of Texas, Jenny Browne lives in San Antonio and teaches creative writing at Trinity University. Her most recent collection, The Second Reason, was published in fall 2007 by the University of Tampa Press. She has new poems published or forthcoming in Sentence, The Southeast Review and The Cincinnati Review. (4/2008)

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