before I was this human I was grass

growing wild by a river, or it could have been a lake.
There was a willow tree nearby—
almost above me, in fact—
and to think of her now I see that I was
trying to emulate her leaves (being embodied,
I almost said hair). We both loved
the wind, and I was happiest
in late summer when at my wildest
and browning all along my edges.
The willow kept a secret well for us
and we never truly wanted.

Waking together from the long nap of winter
was luxurious, and the time—
I swear it—when sex began for everything.
Even the sticks, even the lopsided stones
would heave as the ground regained
its liquors and elixirs.
We sent out runners, the willow and I,
in the direction of each other.


how the birds are not tossed in this wind I do not know.

children with their low centers of gravity running.

clouds, not clouds, dark clouds.

some days she’s willing to be a tree

more often a bird.

my, your language is lovely.

gin and lemonade while cleaning the porch

I do what I do what I want.

listen to that roaring   wind up high

shaking out rugs in the wild air.

children with their dreams of frisky kites.

steady as a tree

cautious as a bird.

my but your world is turning purple.

the thing we’ve been waiting for.   storm.

Anne Piper’s poems have appeared in Black Warrior Review, The New York Quarterly, Poetry East, Water~Stone, and other journals, and one of her poems is stamped into the sidewalks of St. Paul. She graduated with an MFA from Hamline University in 2008, where she received the Outstanding Poetry Thesis Award. She lives with her husband on the West Side of St. Paul.

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