Helen Pruitt Wallace

yellow oak leaves
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Cracks of Light by Helen Pruitt Wallace

We grind the last trunk of an old oak
      lost beneath the bricked yard,
its roots buckling up, if not with hope,
     at least a damp persistence. It’s hard
killing desire tangled in the musk among
    these shoots. They braced us for years,
who are we to shear them? And how long
    before the stump grinder gnaws
on our own deep want, coarsening
    it to dust? What would we be
without thirst? O let that force
     whetting all the earth spill new seed
while we, muscling toward cracks
    of light, splinter, but grow back.

From Shimming the Glass House (The Ashland Poetry Press, 2008) Reprinted with permission by the author.

Former Professor of Creative Writing at Eckerd College, Helen Pruitt Wallace received her Ph.D. in English/Creative Writing from Florida State University, and now serves as Poet Laureate of St. Petersburg, FL and hosts the Dalí Poetry Series at the Dalí Museum. The winner of a Florida Book Award, Helen’s first collection of poems, Shimming the Glass House, was chosen for the Richard Snyder Prize and published by Ashland Poetry Press.