Gibson Fay-LeBlanc

American Beech

Pimp-Daddy, Blow Me, and D-Z 4-ever

are the only legible phrases.  Other


cut-marks on the squat trunk are hieroglyphs:

dark bands of hearts, snowflakes, arrowtips.


To be pocked like this.  To stand in a corner

with shallow roots, one deep tap; to take


the terror-etchings, the fleeting love-wounds

onto skin and hold them out for someone


to see the blurred, healing edges and faint

unknowable letters.  Despite the knife,


despite withering, to push an annual

dying farther, faster, and let anyone


trace a finger over marks we make.




“American Beech” first appeared in Prairie Schooner.