The Tree

Taken verbatim from my final English project.
This poem was inspired by a short story I wrote in high school. It started as a writing exercise, and expanded into an entire assignment. The exercise was to create a character, give him/her memories, and then have a twist at the end. I think that having an old woman remembering her childhood, then turning away to be put into a straight jacket is quite a twist. No one expect a nice little old lady to be locked up in a mental institution. Telling stories (or writing poetry) with twists and turns is fun for me. It makes the reader surprised, and in my opinion, if you can give the reader that “OHHHHH!!!” moment, then you’ve succeeded in making your writing interesting.

x . x . x . x . x

The Tree

The rounded and crinkled body that
was bowed with age, stands in
what should be a majestic pose.
The reality is a grimmer situation
and the pose simply looks forced.
There was a time long ago when
her life was a veritable roller coaster of
ups and downs. There was a tree back
in New England and she closed her eyes
to see the leaves transforming once again
into the multicolored confetti of fall.
She glimpsed herself running with
braided pigtails flying behind
in nothing but her cotton nighty,
just racing to the tree. She needed
an escape from everything she knew.
The house was too sterile, too cold, too
overbearing to bear any longer. She needed
her sanctuary. The reality was a little girl
inventing a villainous home and doing
her best to escape. She couldn’t remember
any simple childhood pleasures and the old
woman furrowed her brow in futile concentration.
Her only pleasure was the leaves, scattering
light over her face as she basked in the summer
warmth. Dreams of far away and mystical worlds
danced behind her eyelids as she sank into the
rough bark. The old woman snaps her
eyes open and executes and abrupt about face.
The orderly holds out the straight
jacket. The woman once again retreats into
herself and imagines she is under
her tree.

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