Pen to Paper: In Defense of Two Girls Walking

Defend the prayer all you’d
like, but my knees never met
the ground with very much grace.

So it is no wonder that
upon seeing two girls walking,
a sapling tree sprouts from inside

my lungs. It feels not like the oak
transpiring from the autumnal ground,
or even like the pine whose

needles tumble down to press briefly
against uncovered toes. No,
the sapling tree inside my lungs grows

like their laughter—in spirals
and with plumes that taste of
plums fresh from October’s morning glean.

Two girls walking bounce off the
pavement, with their breath smelling of
scratched records. I smell it from

all the way back here. With each waft,
a leaf stretches around my
vertebrae, and I can see into my spine, so

I know how very green
I am becoming. I am unbecoming.
Like the browning red swirling

pass the acorns, my pupils
lift their reflection up out of
the present and into this atmosphere of

gratitude. Tonight, before my mattress
remembers the way hands knotted
around my hair, I will turn to my roommate

and tell her of these two girls walking and how
each rooted being grew in order to paint this
New England fall. I will see the world

all yellow when she says,
you must end moments like these with

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