The Evenness of Trees

Brian Muriel

Apology is a sideways glance  
against a flash of shame.
In the late night, in the early morning,
when the oven fails to churn and warm,  
when the child kicks you in his sleep –  
we study regret
(the give and the take).
We shape the small words  
to cover the gaps.  

But who is to say  
what roots will grow and lead to shifting
which casts straight  
cracks on bricks  
and then fill  
and swell with winter  
pulling stone and mortar apart.

I have tried hard to manoeuvre
the sun
to expose the  
          fractures created by my father--
I tried  
today to be sincere.

And yet all I think about  
are the even trees that line our street:
how the leaves flutter in unison  
at the same height.  
           All those leftover stunted limbs
clipped down in shame
as if guilt could be pruned
           by ignoring that question  
I am too ashamed  
to ask anyone: am I good?  
am I good?

Brian Muriel

Brian Muriel is a high school English teacher in Naperville, Illinois. His work has appeared in Big Whoopie Deal.

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