Mar 142012

by Kenneth Olembo


A brook runs through my Grandmas farm,

That used to carry gold.


My Grandpa



Did not yield the land,

To the British, who wanted it dammed.


In 1968, they took him in,

To have his appendix removed,

And Grandma never remarried.


My Aunt Alice,

Was a witch.


She flew in on broomsticks

We never saw,


But heard in the barn,

Where she parked.


She brought foreign sweets that didn’t

Crack our lips,

And told us naughty jokes.


-Oh Pope the Bastard,

Please pass the Custard!-

We’d squeal and never tell,


And feel all grown up and,



Grandma says she died running with

The wrong pack,


That she was knocked from the sky,

By a cross.


Later we learned,

It was a broken heart that did it,


That Grandma wouldn’t accept a,

Jewish man in the house,


So she killed herself.


Mary was dead when we got here,

Her tree is the prettiest.


It’s a large yellow poplar that,

Trembles in the slightest breeze,


She was a violinist,

A frail, little thing, who


Is fading away,

In family photographs.


Irridescent sparrows trill,

Beautiful harmonies,


From skinny branches,

Shielded by the most delicate,


Drooping fronds.

You see, my Grandmother has three beautiful trees,


Growing in her garden,

One for Benjamin, one for Alice, one for Mary.


My grandmother used to sit under these trees.

They’re feeding off the bones she says.

  One Response to “Three Trees”

  1. I come back to this piece and I’m struck each time by all that is left unsaid. The characters, so lightly sketched, are as real, full, and incomplete as anyone I’ve known.
    Lovely craft.