Platanus wrightii

Arizona sycamore

Amanda Jean Bailey



The storm took off your arm

and carried away the child

who’d grown out of your stump--

roots to roots to creek turned torrent.

This is a loss you will wear.

You will curl around the sadness

as you’ve curled before,

bending away from your thirst

to the whims of the water,

leaving an absence you’ll display

but whose story we will never hear.

Your base is now belled like a gown

but worn like a shawl warming

a small cave, a rotten core.

These holes of mourning

are dwelled upon,

and within, by waxwings,

a Mexican jay, and a Northern flicker.

Nests rest upon the losses

and you quiver with song,

while you reach upwards,

shedding sheaths of skin

like drafts of letters.

You light the trail along the water

as the canyon silvers.


In grief, we too

become riparian.

We rest at your roots,

we beg for your birds.



Amanda Jean Bailey is a poet, educator, and ethnographer, and is working on her doctorate at the University of Arizona.