How many ways of knowing can you think of? Sure, there’s the kind of knowing physically, emotionally, or psychologically, and then there’s a bird’s kind of knowing, or a turtle’s, or a girl’s. Here Joanna Penn Cooper invites you to explore a kind of knowing shared with scrawny trees as witness. And everyone knows what Shakespeare says about trees, they give many their ear, but to no one their voice.
How to cultivate wound-deep knowing
with only these scrawny trees around.
Even on the first really warm day
strangers at the park remain closed-
faced, squared off. The wrong kind
of wounding. One girl, though,
blond, Hasidic, alone in middle childhood
surreptitiously follows you around
the playground. Testing out
knowing. Going the wrong way down
the slide, twisting into a circle to get
her shoe back on. Soul pate, is what
you think. Whole-souled human,
kenning what she can.
Joanna Penn Cooper is the author of The Itinerant Girl’s Guide to Self-Hypnosis (Brooklyn Arts Press) and What Is a Domicile (Noctuary Press). Her creative and critical work has appeared in South Dakota Review, Zocálo Public Square, Open Letters Monthly, MELUS, Poetry International, Ping Pong, and other journals. She is an editor at Trio House Press.