National Poetry Month: Three final poems from three remarkable poets to end National Poetry

Liberty Tree

By Rene Mullen

Gardener protects plastic perennial for winter,

cuts plant at its base, discards elm sucked

clean of liberty to repress

urges to overthrow itself.

Thinks it’s bootstrap bee balm, economy

says it’s nepeta.

Each hibernating life born

on this land plowed into concrete, called

native, called something else. Told

it was cut down in 1775.

Driving Dean Martin Downtown

By Jessica Rich

Our voices are vines on buildings that are

too grand for anything other than gentrification.

The old church winks one sad eye

at the homeless who gather at her feet.

She is empty and dreaming organ pipe dreams,

restored but silent.

Eye candy for mortal tornadoes

on fire for the Lord

and followers of lesser gods,

like Rush Hour Traffic and Progress.

A banner announces that Jesus is giving a speech

on the corner of 2nd and Van Buren.

The chairs fill the lot

though they’re all empty but

Jesus stands ready, soapbox stage

With the microphone on.

On Friends; On the End of the World

By Ardea Eichner

Rushing water, shushing cold

Easter’s gone and plants are trusting

All around, the rusty tulips

Dusted by a secret snow.

Mary Mary, take me on a rocket road trip no one can see –

Yellow stars around us shine but the tension is thicker than smoke.

Mother dearest, sink your teeth in!

I made this just for you.

Name your favorite part or parcel,

Don’t you ever tell me.

Why do we meditate with ourselves

However many hours holding hands

You like to watch like you’re hopeless.

Death is level eleven, leave it to the elders,

Only think in greens and blues.

Never look storms or friends in the eyes,

Take nothing home but you.

Yawning is an intimate conversation,

Oxygen courtyards deep inside –

Understand the language, and your bones could learn to fly.