Call the Arborist By T.m. Lawson


It’s time to cull aggressively.
You won’t see the damage for a few years.
First time, no experience, concerned, just lost.
Will this come back to life if I cut off the dead?

It’s time to weep. Reap. Leave.
Smoke at the center, drifting out of your trunk.
The blood is normal.
Keep the carcass as a souvenir.

It’s time to plant needlessly.
Just because. Habits. Or genetics.
Maybe what is animal is vegetable.
Sap. Sapling. Tender bark, peeling.



T.m. Lawson is a writer and poet living in Southern California. They have been published in Los Angeles Review, Entropy Magazine,, White Stag, The Other Journal, NILVX, and Women’s Studies Quarterly. They are a 2015 Academy of American Poets prize winner, and a 2016 Thompson Prize winner. Formerly the Poetry Editor for Angel City Review, they are now an M.F.A. student at UCSD’s Creative Writing program.


Painting, Cherry Tree, by Jenn Zed. Used by Permission.

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