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Marlow by Abel Araya

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Every summer when I was a kid,
I learned a new way of whispering to the trees. In my backyard, there was an apple tree
I named him Marlow.

His tall shadows would swallow the grass whole and consume the clouds,
His wooden teeth biting into the innocent knees and elbows
Of those who underestimated his strength.
Marlow had grown with giants, his roots flat and strong like ancient coffee tables,
And I am confounded.

I reached for his belly only to feel the warmth of the Sun,
Basking in its glory,
the purity of the grass littered with gum wrappers and popsicle sticks.
The kids across the street never took the time to say hi to Marlow,
they felt more suitable with their irises glued to their black boxes in their black living rooms.
I’d lean my body onto the trunk of Marlow, as his roots would tell me stories,
Stories of how my Tarzan belly flops would leave Indian burns on my kneecaps.

My bones became soft and compacted like Italian yogurt,
I was immortal before I could finish grade school.
We spoke incomprehensibly to each other,
As if we were fearful of what was being said by those kids
But I never cared, and neither did he.

Words by Abel Araya 

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