An Ode to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
by Tabitha Studer
which I read years ago,
'this is my favorite book of all books'
which is framed to an open passage in my dining room
the pages, spread wide like the span of a proud gobbler's fan
which I picked up timidly again to re-read
cautiously bracing myself for disappointment
I've read so many books since declaring
as my favorite.
Maybe I would discover the words don't grip me quite as deeply
Maybe I would find that my own progression in age, experiences and beliefs
will cast a shade on the spotlight I've so loyally directed at
of which I made it only to the second page
before I was blanketed with the warm comfort of a friend
maybe more than a friend
a grandmother perhaps,
who always has tea and toast ready
and a listening ear
and a hand reached across the kitchen table for you to hold
at just the moment that you realize you had been feeling incredibly lonely
a hand that is worn down by years of life and wisdom
and a hand that says, 'no sweetheart, you are not alone at all.'
which I repeatedly and uncontrollably
have several times
clutched to my chest like a life vest
as I float through the sea of my days
I cling it near my heart
and frantically whisper
'thank you, thank you, thank you'
with clear understanding that somehow
contains all of the secret hieroglyphics etched into the walls of my inner heart
and I am so grateful that someone else knew how to discover them
and decipher them
and bring a more clear picture of how the world feels
even if only to me.
who's author, Betty Smith,
despite our separation of the vastness of space and time
between our lives
that fills my entire soul with a recognition that
someone else on this earth knows
what the voice of my heart sounds like
somehow we are connected, Ms. Smith.
that reaches out to me from the past
that sings to me the song of my heart
that reminds me that one person's story,
one person's written word
can make ripples all the way into a future unknown
to a mother who will put her children to sleep with the sound of her voice reading
and those children will grow up and someday ask, what was important to my mother?
and they'll remember it was
and so they'll pick it up and learn more about what made their mother their mother
and in that way, Ms. Smith
you will live forever.
This book, these words,
you, Ms. Smith,
have made a difference through the ages,
even if only just to me,
even if only to this one girl out here in the future,
in this time that is so different from when you lived and loved
but somehow not different at all
what you said and what you wrote
do you hear me out there in this prayer of gratitude?
what you created from nothing
that somehow in some fantastic way
quietly and persistently whispers,
'You, Tabitha, are a writer too.
Don't give up, friend.'
this book: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
I love thee.
do I love thee.