climbing trees

I was reviewing my lesson plan to go over modal verbs with my English as a Foreign Language class in Thailand. The lesson plan I gathered gave an example, “When I was young, I could climb trees.” From there, I wrote this poem. It’s not from my life. I’ve maybe climbed a tree once in my life. But when I was writing it, it didn’t matter whether it was a tree, a mountain, a bridge — it’s always ourselves, we are always conquering ourselves.


In the summer when I was a child,
I would climb trees.
I would pick the most complicated tree with my brother,
one with an entanglement and maze of branches,
and he would point at the tallest branch.

“That one.”

He usually said that,
while giving me a nudge on the shoulder.

Barefoot, I’d crunch my way through the grass with calloused feet,
scaling the tree above.
And just for a moment,
I’d wait until a bead of sweat made its way down my cheek or nose –
just to feel the coolness that comes with the movement of conquering a giant.


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