EARL

by Micaela Walley

I slept under banana trees
in the Mississippi 

summers, young and 
unaware of heat. 

my bones built of play-
ground metals and side-

walk chalk; I learned to seize 
opportunity from the worms

in my oranges. Nothing 
about my grandfather was soft, 

though he planted fruit trees 
in improbable climates. His hair

so thin I imagined I could 
scoop it off his head 

with a spoon. Every meal he gave
me contained something sweet.

The way he believed conclusively
in growth—I think I owe him 

to move on from this loss. Even if
the trees he planted never flowered 

they still mattered, if only 
for their cool, brief shade. 


Photo by Štefan Štefančík

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