You can have all the words you want, black walnut shimmering
across the orchard, out of place on the grassy floor,
too many times the wind called. My tree, my tree, you are supine,
my love has come down to me. Tremendous being uprooted
in strange weather, smashing the old crabapple tree to land
across the stone wall at my feet. I stand in the meadow
you shaded for decades. Like a mother witnessing war,
I have no language for this. Only to press my mouth to your
long leaves, cool and glossy as lips, still smelling emerald sweet.
Kneeling now.

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Desirée Alvarez is a New York based poet and painter. Her work has received grants and awards from New York Foundation for the Arts, American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Foundation for Contemporary Art. Her second book, Raft of Flame, 2020, received the Lake Merritt Poetry Prize from Omnidawn. Devil’s Paintbrush, her first book, received the May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize. Her work is anthologized in Other Musics: New Latina Poets (University of Oklahoma Press), Stronger Than Fear: Poems of Empowerment, Compassion, and Social Justice (Cave Moon Press), and What Nature (MIT Press). As a visual artist, Alvarez exhibits internationally and has recently done projects with Brooklyn Botanic Garden and New-York Historical Society. She teaches at CUNY and The Juilliard School.