Tree Hearts

Stanley A. Galloway

For Bibhas Roy Chowdhury

It’s nothing as simple as reaching inside and
measuring out a small bowl of myself, like dessert –
the sweetness houses hurt as well:
a lovers’ arrowed heart in maple bark.

Exposed and scored, tree trunks persevere,
tearfully resolved, if choice were theirs,
while dryads frolic farther south
in careless sport with oreads and naiads.

Every welt disguises – or declares – itself
in gossip, curses, bar talk, or in poetry –
the very best, artistic valentines
so many others cankers poorly etched.

Hard ironies indwell this polyhedral frame –
knives or ants incise integument and heartwood
leave a tree inhaling in astonishment:
Life quivers in the circumstantial woodmeal.


Stan Galloway teaches at Bridgewater College in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. His poetry includes Just Married (unbound CONTENT, 2013) and two chapbooks. His reviews of poetry have been published in such places as New Orleans Review and Paterson Literary Review. He is founder and host of the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival.

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