All the Trees

Susan Wardell


All the trees are pointing

away from earth. Promise

or ultimatum?


I should

eat dirt and plant myself.

That’s what they call ‘centred’.

I should

hold the hard truth of it

heavy in my belly.


I saw you before

you opened your eyes.

I didn’t want to apologise

then, but since

I sometimes wonder if

I should.


Till today when you climb

the old cherry behind the house, breathe

pink and infinite solutions,

however small. You invite me up.

I look skyward through its old, old arms

as you promise me

I won’t fall.



Susan Wardell is from Dunedin, New Zealand, where she lectures in Social Anthropology at the University of Otago while raising two small humans and a few potted plants. She has been published in Landfall, Takahē, and Not Very Quiet. She placed second in the 2018 Landfall Essay Competition.

%d bloggers like this: