Love and a Black Walnut Tree

We watched her grow, begin to produce

green-covered nuts. He counted and guarded

each one, as if to ready for war.


Perched by the window, he threw rocks

at squirrel-thieves. Stones rippled

into Fall’s puddles. Why does a tree


give itself away every year, and then

have nothing left? The tree and my body

learned to say, no, no, no!


For years after we separated,

he said he was coming home.

There is no home.


Developers killed the tree,

the 100 year old house, and our attic.


The maze of roots were abandoned

under a sterile eight-story complex;

no space for green. The tree would have tangled


through phone lines, overtaken arguments.

Left to her own, she would have won. I still

love him for loving rare black walnuts.


He knew how to crack the hardest shells.


-Carrie Albert


Carrie Albert is a multifaceted artist and poet. Her poems and multimedia works have been published widely in journals and anthologies, including Up the Staircase Quarterly, Grey Sparrow Journal, Foliate Oak, Earth’s Daughters, ink, sweat & tears. . . She lives in Seattle.