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Tree at McKinley Pary in Alameda, Ca.

McKinley Park

by Monique Rardin Richardson



tucked away in a corner

I release a sigh

seeing the three elderly elms

with luscious leaves

waiting for my inevitable



years ago, we

visited during each

pivotal planetary movement,

whether rain pummeled pavement

the bright star kissed adolescent skin 

or the lavender released its scent 

summoning the honey bees

we were here


with laugh lines etched

around the corners of my lips, and silver 

sparkling through my thick auburn hair,

am I still recognizable to the 

dedicated guardians of the park

as they forever will be to me?


my fingertips skate across the bark 

sensing initials no longer there 

a declaration of undying love


and the life who carved it

diminished to ashes


nature's been tested  

more resilient than aging

and a lost and fallen

mortal heart

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