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I was never a me
And We were always a We
We grew together
We loved together
And We played together.

That was the best part about being us, about being trees in love. Our love coincided with the first breath of this world, we grew to one another in her soft soil and watched in admiration as she built and recycled life. We became thick and tall and vibrantly green, our roots intertwining…and tangling…and laughing as a knitted runway beneath the crust. Our branches, strong and bronzed, formed gorgeous wooden bridges for the life in our arms to run to and fro, scurrying into the leafy meshes of our afro. The home we provided for those crawling up and down our oaks, the home we provided for each other, was love, ancient love.

So We lived forever together
And We lived together forever
The Earth was always trees
The tree were always We
And We were always together.

When our coats grew as orange as the great fire, we’d wave back and forth to each others’ prose, a chance to admire our metamorphic beauty. We loved-loved!-when the sky iced over so we could strip away our leafy jackets, flex our sturdy wide physique, and twist n’ lumber so our arms could stretch out and hold our naked selves against the cold. Whispering to each other on windy nights, keeping warmth beneath the surface. A chance to change appearance and step away from the constant upkeep of leaves and fauna. Just some nice quality Us time.

but now it’s only me
what’s left of a stolen tree
all the life has flee’d
my lock has lost its key
miss we.

I remember the last time we were We, you smelled so good. The odd creatures had surrounded our trunks around first light. They had brought a large yellow beast with sharp teeth with them. It shoveled the earth, shaking the ground as it quaked toward us… and then– in an instant– We became Me. I stood helpless as it chomped on your trunk and spit your guts into the air.

I hate these fucking monsters. I hate these things that pretend to be alive.

I didn’t know a tree could lie face down against the earth.
I didn’t know We could be a Me
I didn’t know Me was a Me
I wish I screamed
I just wish I could scream.

The worst part about being a tree… is that we don’t die. So once the yellow beast severed me from trunk, I endured silently as these things that were once alive filleted my arms, peeled my skin, and warped my very texture, my very being, until all of me was distributed, lost, and changed into unrecognizable things, stamping me as theirs and taking away everything that made me a tree. As if splitting us wasn’t enough.

Sometimes I dream about you
That we’re holding hands
That we’re making love
That you’re not a you
And I’m not a Me.

Now, with so much of me away from anything green, with so much of you away from me, it’s easy to have doubt, but we will grow back to one another again. Our love is ancient, our love is growth, and our love transcends the temporary vortex of violent clawing human hands. And apart our love is loyal… wise… patient, waiting for the serendipitous moment when the world purifies her body. A flick of long curly waves, submerging all air with water, then jiving back and forth to the dance of falling stars along her skin until her body is dried and charcoaled from the kiss of the great fire. The horizon will awaken a new life as she births a recycled world, fresh and loved, green and vibrant, and once again,

we will grow back to each other.

Justin Jenkins

I’m a California boy who’s an undergrad at Howard University. I religiously work out, write, and turn up with my squad. #BlackLivesMatter

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