Letter to a Tree

Artwork by: Hashim Trunkwala, age 16

The words in my books
Cry out, as loudly as they can:
Some argue that God exists,
And some prove the opposite;
Some honor my nation, some deflate it.
Their voices are so clamorous
That they overwhelm my own.

The numbers on my transcripts
Tell me who I am.
Like Greek epic poets,
They tell a tale of this “I”
— A hero, or a boring villager.
They offer me a crown of flowers,
But its fragrance suffocates me.

So when the school bell frees me
Into your nuanced shades of green,
When your coarse whisper
Is the only thing I can hear,
The timetables making up my skeleton
Dissolve in the sunlight;
I soften into a cloud.

This self I put together collapses
As the inner self reblooms,
Quiet, still, and imperturbable. Like you.

Peiyao Yu is a 16-year-old from Beijing, China. Her interests include modern/post-modern philosophy, literary theory, creative writing, and the history of religious ideas.