by Mark Belair
The elm tree,
its long, narrow,         

sun-seeking trunk
rising up then parting,

one branch curling back
down then dramatically up

again like a dancer’s expressively
held arm, the other branch flung back

like a dancer’s agile spine, autumn leaves
half-gone as if shaken off in dancing passion,

its nimble contortions both despite and due to its
oppressively crowded city surroundings, its poise,

compared to that of its sun-drenched
country cousins, made

beautifully, bravely

Mark Belair’s poems appear in numerous journals, including
Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, The Cincinnati Review,
Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Poetry East. His
latest collection is Watching Ourselves (Unsolicited Press, 2017).
Previous collections include Breathing Room (Aldrich Press, 2015),
Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013), While We’re Waiting
(Aldrich Press, 2013), and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the
University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). He has been nominated
for a Pushcart Prize multiple times. Please visit