The tree enchants the riverbank,

so wide, gnarled and hollow,

its skin beneath the shedding bark

a mottled map, an abstract painter’s

canvas, its limbs and branches

turning white as bone as it climbs,

crowding out the neighbors

to display that ivory crown.


I duck through the entrance

in its side, stand in a space

filled with light from constellations,

the holes of birds with chisel beaks,

look up where the heartwood

feeds rot and ants moving

toward the sky, put my hand

on brittle xylem still alive with sap

rising to a galaxy of star shaped leaves

and thorny fruits as centuries pass.


Steve Brammell


I worked for many years as a technical and medical writer in Birmingham, Alabama. I was also a frequent contributor to Birmingham Magazine, Alabama Magazine, and other regional publications. My feature each month in Birmingham Magazine examined life in the city through a poet’s eyes. I now live and write in Indianapolis, where I also work in the wine business. As a native Hoosier much of my poetry reflects my upbringing and fascination with the Midwest, its culture and its history. Recently, I’ve had poems published in RavensPerch, Northwest Indiana Literary Journal, White Wall Review, The Tiny Seed Literary Journal, The Write Launch, Flying Island, among others. I am a graduate of Wabash College.