by Jessica Jacobs
Though I want to give you
only kindness, there’s often an age between what I want
and who I am.
Yet how many times can you cry on my chest before something
good grows there?
Redwoods thrive in acid soil; summon
that weight, those stiff-fingered roots
to skewer my ribs and prime the rusted pump
in my chest. Into that age, let me
grow: a ring for each year, marking
boom and drought and flood. Let me anchor further, into
your roots; make me part of something
greater. Let me grow strong enough
that even when fallen
I can be of use to you—
rough lumber for rafters and joists, a roof
for the drum of this evening’s insistent rain. A cross-section
from my trunk set to spin on the phonograph—a record
of what has passed, playing the music of what
is to come. A song for each year
I’ll learn to love you better.
This poem is from Jessica Jacobs' collection Take Me with You, Wherever You're Going, forthcoming from Four Way Books in March 2019. Her collection Pelvis with Distance, a biography-in-poems of Georgia O'Keeffe, was winner of the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. An avid long-distance runner, Jessica has worked as a rock climbing instructor, bartender, editor, and professor, and is now the Associate Editor of the Beloit Poetry Journal. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her wife, the poet Nickole Brown, and you can find more of her work at www.jessicalgjacobs.com.