Friday, 31 July 2020

these things we can do to honor those who came before us

by Tree Riesener

collect memorabilia from friends and family
            so we will not forget when they are dead

treasure our angel blood and neanderthal dna
            heavy bones anchor great wings and thus we are
fast until we deliver lunches and lemonade
            to all the child harvesters in scorching fields

stand guard over worms
            when flights of sharp-beaked robins descend

check suburban chimneys for stars and smoke-dried babies
            whisper their names               

give everyone seeds to grow their coffins
            help hold the saw shape the wood carry it home

build little houses for the dying
            where they can cook meals of incense and memory

eat the flesh of fallen angels
            bake rosemary into casseroles for the bereaved

ignore god’s love affair with incurable disease
            this is a lamentable mystery

stand back at mass angels follow the host
            like sharks after a wounded swimmer

revere holy children made of sunlight and blood           

* * * * *

"these things we can do to honor those who came before us" is from Tree Riesener's new poetry collection Quodlibet (Ravenna Press, 2020).

Author's note: Quodlibet is a Latin word meaning “whatever it pleases.” In essence, a quodlibet is a practice whereby a question or proposition (or poem) on any subject may be proposed for thought and discussion (recently often referring to a musical composition that combines several different melodies). The discussive practice of quodlibet originated in medieval universities, where such opportunities allowed teachers, students, passersby, workers, clergy, lay people-anyone-to discuss, disagree, modify. The word is ideal to describe a poetry collection that offers poems on many subjects.

Tree Riesener is the author of Sleepers Awake, a collection of fiction, winner of the Eludia Award (Sowilo Press, Hidden River Arts). She has written The Hubble Cantos, poems inspired by astronomy (Aldrich Press), EK-ekphrastic poems (Cervena Barva Press), Angel Fever/Triple No. 5 (Ravenna Press), and three poetry chapbooks, Liminalog, Angel Poison, and Inscapes. She has published numerous poems in literary magazines and anthologies. Her new collection, Quodlibet (Ravenna Press), is a collection of poems on many subjects under the sun. Her website is  She loves to hear from readers.

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