Late one night in April 2006, I heard an unexpected knock on my bedroom door. I lived at the time with a loose coalition of punks, anarchists, hippies, and nondenominational nonconformists in a squatted block of flats, across from rumbling tracks, in a working class suburb of Barcelona, Spain.
Who called Mirrellez C. Elliott and told her that her son had died in police custody? How many minutes did it take for the police to drive De’Sohn from where he was arrested in New Haven to the police station at One Union Avenue?
and the tour guide said what a shame how awful the heroin in Kensington but we would not be focusing on that today because this was an African American Iconic Hero tour and she smiled beatifically at the Black couple and the Black couple only...
Our boys didn’t come home to the swamp after fighting the North, but James did. He came back with a phantom limb, believing he could feel the clench of the muscles that had been amputated in a surgical tent, bloody saws and chloroform rags and dirty knives.
By the base of his steps, there was a flower pot with a sad, half-dead plant. She lifted the thing. Felt the small force of its weight against her. Stupid, she knew. But she was a container brimming over. And she needed to let something go.
Three shades of afternoon light—gluttonous— / Salt me when I open the door / I wasn’t expecting it / Marigold mouths pout / Fresh leaves threaded to greet newcomers / What a betrayal then, to curdle with sweetness!
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author talks to Gulf Coast about trees, the transformative power of storytelling, and how writers might respond—and stay responsive to—the unique demands of this moment in both human- and tree-time.