Submissions: The Ritual

The Ritualwalkway (1)

Locust tree,
you were once my gateway
into dreaming.

The tickle of grass remains
on my wrists, even now,
from the amaranthine nights
I lay in my summer yard
and gazed through you to the Milky Way.

My fingers wrinkle, even now,
at the memory of pressing them
to my window pane in winter
so I could look through you to a possible blue.

You were my baobab of Madagascar.
You were my jacaranda of Pretoria.
You were my Atlas holding up
the atmosphere, your towering thinness—
where the air is thin—
a portal to lands I had not seen,
I still have not seen.

Now, you’ve dried through the middle.
Now, you’ve been cut and stacked.
Now, I begin the ritual
of burning your body
to keep my body warm.

I send your spirit back up
into the sky it cradled.

I send your spirit back out
into the Serengeti
to bleed along the painted horizon
with the umbrella thorn.

Castle Yuran is an MFA graduate from Goddard College, professional writing tutor at Northwest Connecticut Community College, and English teacher at Post University. This poem comes from her MFA thesis collection entitled, Home is a Road.


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