Jae Newman

White Crane

Everything is exaggerated here. 

Near dusk along the DMZ,
it’s hard to say why this rare bird
lives beside mines, between peoples.
Descending into rolling hills, its presence
must make the grass itch, the soldier
claim allergies: water in eyes.

Mother Tree

I am free
cut loose from
the branches of the Mother Tree,
unto fostered fingers of a silver bird.

I was nine
when I found you, planted,
arms part of an unreachable sky.

Running alone at dusk,
I cried for your attention

the single time in my life

pointing at a bloody shin.
I wanted you to see

what a snapped-back branch had done to me.

On a hill in the woods, I wiped blood away
until all the leaves were red, then

stood up, your roots quivering
as I kissed the bark, gripped an ax.