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Catalpa Tree

Catalpa Tree
Welda, Kansas

– Poem by Julie Martin – April 18, 2019

Catalpa Tree

Go down the gravel road
past the farm where a family lived in a boxcar,
past the field with longhorn cattle
When you hear donkeys bray,
you are almost there.

Continue past the fields of soybeans and wheat.
The wind will wave and part the stalks
revealing a rusted, abandoned truck.
Pull over where the fence posts meet.

Grass has overgrown the curb, but if you look hard,
remnants can be found, of a road that curved
up to the schoolhouse, all reclaimed,
by earth, wind and time.

Start at the catalpa tree, walk south in cadence
to threadlike echos of creaking swings.
Imagine where the windows were, the cloakroom,
the pile of coal for the fire the teacher stoked,

This is the intersection between the past and the future.


Some nights, in dreams, I wander this space.
Though barbed wire obstructs entrance,
my uncle has the authority to enter.
With patient skilled hands, he unwinds
the wire from the post and ushers us in.

Large, heart shaped leaves sift the sunlight
as I scatter my father’s ashes, upwards and outwards,
to consort with barred winged dragonflies
and rain down with catalpa blossoms.

Julie Martin
About the Author – Julie Martin

A poet and a public school teacher, Julie Martin lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with her husband and two teenage sons. Her poetry has appeared in Alpha Female Society, In Want of Jasmine, Ancient Paths Literary Journal and she was a featured poet of the week on the Poetry Super Highway. *”Catalpa Tree” was previously published in Ancient Paths Literary Magazine.

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Baby Make Like a Tree
A Drop Like Wet Shellac
“In Her Garden” and “Fresh News”
The Space I Take
Things I’ve Learned on the Road
The Crash

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