The Trees in Dealey Plaza Seemed Distressed

so county arborists trim live oaks on the knoll
where footsteps of a thousand tourists
over half a century compress soil

like buried memory. I was six, in first grade
curling cursive when Kennedy died
and my father arrived at the schoolyard

in our good used Ford, and said,
oh honey, shook his head.
I wish I could say I never looked back

but violence always cuts me down to size.
Some trees remember droughts, conserve
what water comes, a process of abscission,

building reservoir, a stand against
our misremembered dead.
Meanwhile, the arborists aim to reclaim

points of view, with each lopped limb,
strategic prune. Some retrace trajectory of bullet,
as if we could map regeneration, make old new.

Sarah Carey

Sarah Carey is a graduate of the Florida State University creative writing program. Her poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Five Points, Sugar House Review, Florida Review, Zone 3, Redivider, River Heron Review, Split Rock Review, Atlanta Review and elsewhere. Her book reviews have appeared recently in Salamander, EcoTheo Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and the Los Angeles Review.

Sarah's poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Orison Anthology. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, including Accommodations (2019), winner of the Concrete Wolf Chapbook Award. Her debut full-length collection was a finalist for the 2023 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize and the 2023 Barry Spacks Prize sponsored by Gunpowder Press. Visit her at, Instagram @skcarey1 or on Twitter @SayCarey1.

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