“The Petals on the Ornamental Pear Tree in the Neighbor’s Yard Smell like Death” by Amorak Huey

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The Petals on the Ornamental Pear Tree in the Neighbor's Yard Smell Like Death

How could something so lovely —

but that of course


is ridiculous

to ask               because loveliness

and death


are words from the same root.


Pale. Delicate. The stench


of something under

the deck,

for days.


We chose this neighborhood


because                         of sidewalks.

We imagined                 a kind

of connection


to the people around us.                    We


were not wrong, exactly.


Imagine that —              a fruit               tree


without fruit,

not even

the promise

of fruit,

                                      imagine that.



Amorak Huey, a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, is author of the poetry collections Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress, 2015) and Boom Box (Sundress, forthcoming 2019), as well as two chapbooks. He is co-author of the textbook Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2018) and teaches at Grand Valley State University.

Photo Credit: Staff