I am a tree.
I sprouted under mother tree’s shadow.
Her shade stunted my growth as a seedling.
Parts of me could not grow at all.
Father tree swayed his branches.
This glistened light upon me.
My branches expanded,
but soil deficiency from mother
kept my branches weak.
Still, I grew taller:
in sunshine’s love,
through thirst-quenching tempests.
After many years,
a poisonous tree cross-bred with me.
I bloomed, fruited, and bore seed.
My seedling sprouted next to me.
The poisonous tree was cut down,
but it left me with a toxic illness.
Father and mother tree enriched my little seedling.
I began to grow new out of the illness.
Before I could completely heal,
a thorny tree intertwined upon my limbs.
At first, we shared a symbiotic relationship.
Eventually, it turned parasitic.
That season, mother tree shriveled up and died.
I bloomed again, fruited for the thorny tree,
and bore seed of another seedling.
A few seasons later, father tree shriveled up and died.
In this season, thorny tree was dug up and planted elsewhere.
This was a relief,
but my limbs with thorns and suffocating vines were cut off.
I suffered excruciating pain.
Barely any limbs were left on my trunk.
Nutrient deficiency and dehydration left me barren.
The sun scorched what few leaves I had.
My seedlings were uprooted and replanted far away.
I’ve been trying to expand:
grow new leaves, stronger branches, deeper roots,
bear flowers and fruit…
Yet, I’ve become so stunted from drought.
People pass by me sometimes.
They are indifferent to the malnourishment I suffer.
Am I going to shrivel up and die like mother and father tree soon?
Could someone desire the flowers and fruit I can bear?
Could they revive me to life?
I stand, wilted,
unsure if I will survive the season…