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Sheree La Puma


Sheree La Puma is an award-winning writer whose personal essays, fiction and poetry have appeared in or are forthcoming in Heron River Review, The Rumpus, Juxtaprose, O:JA&L, Plainsongs, The Main Street Rag, Burningword Literary Journal, I-70 Review, Inflectionist Review, Levee, The London Reader, Bordighera Press – VIA: Voices in Italian Americana, Gravel, Foliate Oak, PacificReview, Westwind and Ginosko Literary Review, among others. She received an MFA in Writing from California Institute of the Arts and taught poetry to former gang members.

An Olive Tree in Summer

A week into summer, two gardeners in my olive
tree with a chainsaw, decimating branches.
They fall like lead, weights, splattering like
the man who plunged to death from his hotel
balcony, Waikiki, our honeymoon. Landing
on the roof of a night club, “Spats,” renamed
“Splats,” by my brother. This is how he
buries sorrow. I weep. When bodies &
branches blur, I weep. I weep as they cover
arms, legs, head with a sheet. A blank, note,
where song used to be. But this was back
at the beginning, I was twenty-two.
Three decades later, you are lost, having
dropped from the sky in flight gone awry
& now gardeners in the tree with a chainsaw.
As wind lifts broken arms, leaves, little hands,
pale & lifeless, in silence, I walk across grass,
embrace death in my arms & I have lost my ability
~ to weep.
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