“Some Trees”

A Poem by Tracy K. Smith

October 18, 2021  By Tracy K. Smith

The lithe branches,
the solid trunks,
the leaves atilt
in summer sun.
What trees know

they know from
what the rains bring,
what’s carried
on the breeze, from
their railroad of roots

under the gridwork
of our streets. Some trees
bear our very scars. High up
On their bark, up
in their crook of arms,

up in the traffic
of leaves: fact cleaves.
The message
is only now arriving
in my city and yours,

and on the far shores
of the nationless sea.
A man was lynched yesterday
is what some trees
seem to say.


Such Color, Tracy K. Smith

“Some Trees” excerpted from Such Color. Copyright © 2021 by Tracy KSmith. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tracy K. Smith
Tracy K. Smith
Tracy K. Smith is the author of Such Color; Wade in the Water; Life on Mars, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Duende, winner of the James Laughlin Award; and The Body’s Question, winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. She is also the editor of an anthology, American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time, and the author of a memoir, Ordinary Light, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. From 2017 to 2019, Smith served as Poet Laureate of the United States. She teaches at Harvard University.

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