by Phoenix

Have you ever taken
the time
to see the story of a tree?
Maybe while
in a forest
or even
beside those oh-so-human
columns of trees
that line the asphalt.

The beauty, 
the colors,
the size of the beasts;
perhaps we appreciate this.
But do you ever 
stop to think
about the snapshot that you see
and how it came to be?

Years maybe decades;
the sun bending it this way one summer
then that way the next. Its
branches only
spreading out as they do
because of years,
years we cannot see,
years we were not here,
and growth too slow to watch.
Do you ever think
of the story behind the snapshot?

a disembodied yet still drunk
voice call out
through the
laughs and the
cheers of its peers.
Can't see the owner
of the roller coaster voice.
eyes already from tears,
all could own
that particular voice.

Awash in a crowd
it could well be
the voice of the hand
that threw a drink
at my friend 
and his boyfriend
for daring to hold hands at 
football game. The
least gay sport of all.

For years I swallowed
the sweet, addictive
pills of rage
one incident
became two
became three
became a stop by cops
who watch enough
to ask me
if I'm a shemale
after I said I'm transgender.

Ask many
and hear 
the rage was just fine,
I had been wronged,
confronted with hate.
Face to face,
brain "ka-tcha ka-tchsssst" taking snapshots
of my biggest threat.
After all,
it's rational:
hate produces fear,
fear blossoms to hate.

These ugly snapshots,
my own brain.
I loathed the subjects
of every war-torn

But were they not
A single frame in a story?
What does each of
these frames
tell me
of the decades behind it?

An inexcusable action.
Each one committed.
But how many snapshots of me
lay in the hatred of others?
it is but a snapshot.
And I know nothing 
of the
behind it.

Walking on my
suburban route.
Professionals cut,
break, and snap
a mighty tree
to the ground.
they say,
have to protect other
nearby trees.

I realize
now no one will
see that snapshot.
Decades of gradual growth
to become
a true beauty.
Still one
month two
or three
full of termites
and now far from a beauty
it's a danger to others.

No one asks
of the intention
or logic
of termites.
Because regardless of those
they bring healthy trees to the ground.

Why then does it matter
if my hate
my rage
my judgement
makes sense.
Are they not termites
of the mind, of the soul,
warping their host
into merely a shell,
a danger to others?
Why is my hate
better than that
of disembodied voices
the world over?

I don't have
my own answers.
I can't
what's true for me
is true for anyone.
It just seems that
too often
we snatch up these snapshots,
all too willing
to ignore
the story that made them.



2 thoughts on “Snapshots

    • Thank you so much. I really appreciate your complements! It’s always very affirming to have someone say that they really got something out of something I’ve written, especially when it comes to creative writing. It really does make my day. Interesting note about the metaphor: it started as a mindfulness exercise that I use on walks in my neighborhood and I probably used that exercise a hundred times before I had the kind of epiphany that it doesn’t just apply to trees. lol. And you’re absolutely right. I actually never thought about the flip side of it, but you’re totally dead on that it’s not just acts of hate but acts of love that are snapshots that can’t encompass the full story surrounding them. Thank you for pointing that out! That actually gives an entirely new perspective for me to look at it which is really awesome. Also, thank you. You definitely don’t have to apologize for the actions of others, but I feel your sentiment and I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to read this and comment! It really means a lot to me. Hope this finds you well!

      Liked by 1 person

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