Jacarandas and JCL

Before embarking on my journey to midwest and MFAs, I lived with a good friend, JCL. One night she asked me to write a poem about jacarandas (amazing trees that bloom lavish periwinkle sticky) and I did. When I got to MFA school, I was nervously turned it in for my first workshop. Since then it has changed here, there, and back again. The poem, left in a drawer for many months,  was rediscovered and reburied. It came out from hiding long enough to find residence in a small Canadian lit journal whose clean layout caught my eye. Poems like people are always on the move. Currently, JCL is living in South Africa, I’m in Chicago and the poem is home in Canada. [Update: the Canadian Magazine is now defunct, and the poem lives here]

Jacarandas Bloom
for Jen Chi Lee

On 8th Street,
where the legless & drug-addicted

mumble pleading eyes
for the change in your pocket.

On Raymond Avenue,
where a teen shotandkilled

sparked retaliation gunfire & prayer,
we fast-forward to exhale:

gnarled branches set loose a purple-blue.
The sidewalk luminous with

this syrup, this bubble wrap. A water-
fall clipped to the trees,

who have not
forgotten it is Spring—

wring us out,
old dishrags, cleaned.

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