for my father
The trees always struck me as waiting for
the next new ice age, for the unbecoming, and
for the rot that trailed them ever present.
We used to walk with them pointing out
the ways they convened and then didn’t. It
was there you taught me ‘innocuous,’ said
it was a synonym for ‘Kate’. Said I could
have been born boy but wasn’t. Said you
were expecting a boy, but weren’t surprised.
I moved to another place where there are
fewer trees. A forest of remembrance and
the things we did not say but should have.
We both have our own deserts now. Mine
of sandstone and red rock, yours of quartz
and granite. I no longer stuff my pockets
full of rocks or beg you to carry the would-
have-been boulders you bled to transport.
I miss the old growth and the words.
I have yet to find a lake that I could run into
without fear of shame. There are no
craters with intermingling trees, nor
dictionaries for missing fathers. My name
is no longer pure or harmless. There is so
much becoming and the trees still hold
their secrets. I do not long for glaciers,
only the calloused hands that moved
them. Only for the blood that carried them.
Kate Wilson lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and attends Westminster College. They are an interview correspondent with Half Mystic Press and serve as a poetry editor for ellipsis… Literature & Art and Rose Quartz Magazine. Their work can be found with Pressure Gauge Press and Philosophical Idiot, among others.