The dead tree

gita con Rosanna,boschi, casa della Rusa,corse di Lorenzo nel prato,alberi tagliati


Had it always been
prone and immense there
between barbed wire strands
and the cornfield,

its roots feathering
the wind? Not a leaf
on it while it lived
and was reborn

with each visit. Husk
and bark and music
sometimes when it rushed
with a breeze though,

along with the time
outside of our time
of stone. It was dream
stuff and the raw

dark of crow-call, keep
and castle. It’s long sleep
out-survived the step
by step down-curve

of the girl who was
and then wasn’t, frosts
and summers, the house
burnt to the sound

of nothing one night
by the man who bit
a hole, unsettled
afternoons once

we knew. As toppled
trunk the tree opened
its own language. Hope
was that its span

of years would do more
than hang unearthed
and barren, repair
or repeat what

must once have gathered
and rattled and breathed
in the difference
of its sweet air.

December 2020

Owen Lowery was born in 1968. Formerly a British Judo champion, he suffered a spinal injury while competing and is now a ventilator-dependent tetraplegic. He has a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Bolton University, where he also completed his PhD in the extrospective poetry of Keith Douglas. His poetry has appeared in Stand, PN Review, the Guardian and on the BBC. Owen is also an accomplished performer of his poetry and features regularly at a wide range of major festivals and venues.

Photo: Lorenzo Avico