Ode to the Tree – Deonte Osayande

  1. Fiddle – (noun) violin, (verb) to mess with

Before I knew I would quit
fiddling with this fiddle I fought
with my father over because
running was my ticket to
colleges I would never be
good enough to play for,
returning from practice
Chris hit his head against
this tree trying to catch
a pass that wasn’t meant
to be, hard enough
it’s the only memory left
of him, so hard could be
retribution for all those
hangings in the past, so hard
you could see the white meat
of the tree, the beginning of
the end for that woody
plant, which I don’t even
recall if it was tore down
or if it just fell from the birth
of his scarred ear, that I
would see whenever
playing basketball in that dirt
court, judgement you couldn’t
even dribble on, not even mobile
all pass and shoot, all leave him,
all self-check, all he defends himself

Deyonte OsayandeDeonte Osayande is a writer from Detroit, Mi. His nonfiction and poetry have been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology, and the Pushcart Prize, and a Digital Book Award. He has represented Detroit at four National Poetry Slam competitions. He’s a professor of English at Wayne County Community College. His books include Class (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2017), Circus (Brick Mantle Books, 2018) and Civilian (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2019). He also managed the Rustbelt Midwest Regional Poetry Slam and Festival for 2014 and 2018.