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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAn excerpt from my novel, American Dream. The character Daniel remembers his mother:

“If he could go back in time to when Mother was a child and protect her invisibly throughout her life, he was sure that he would do it. He tried to compose a poem for her during the long ride back.

Let me be a tree.

Let me be the locust tree

her dear hands clasp as a child

where she looks up

as if I were her eternity

And give me a coat of ribbed tree bark

for her to carve her ABC’s.

Let me be a thousand locust blossoms

to perfume her walk in spring

but keep her from the poison seeds

that scatter where she plays.

Or let me be the maple tree

her strong hands tap in spring

and the flowing golden syrup in her glass

then shed the crimson leaves

to line her walk in autumn.

Yes, let me be a tree.

But let me not be hacked into logs

not planed smooth and drowned in stains

not cut by rough hands.

Or if it must be

then let me be the welcome table

laid lovingly with bread by her dear hands.

Let me not fall into disuse, be discarded or burned.

Or if it must be

then let me be the fine smooth boards

that line the coffin where she lays her head

as a final resting place.

Yes, let me be a tree.”

-J.J.Brown 2012, American Dream