This piece evolved from the Dear Poet Project, a program of the Academy of American Poets. Participants were encouraged to write a response letter the author. Poet Jennifer Vernon suggested crafting the letters in the form of a poem. This is my response to Toi Derricotte’s poem, Cherry Blossoms. The italicized line a branched heaven is borrowed from Derricotte.


Dear Toi,

I ran down to the river, where breath and blossom and the river’s muddy smell braided spring into branches (each tree’s hair). River-run and leaf-buzz in the air, my hard-hands touched the tree where its heart bulged beneath smooth black bark. On everything and everyone in this grove, covered with a light dusting of pollen or dream and I found, like you, so many people in various states of celebration, some more aware of the fleetingness of the bloom, these tiny affairs between bud, bloom, bee and cherry.

Oh blossom
this breath of mine
returning your fragrance,
giving back to you
your sweet breath.

Oh blossom
and my cool inhalation
the warming of this micro climate,
micro moment
where we come close,
but don’t

But rather grow colder
unspring, unblossom,
return again to bud,
return to march
when we were both barer,
both reaching
for what light could be had.

Even bare, Toi,
these cherry trees
and our outstretched arms
and hands
and fingers
and grasping
are a branched heaven.
A blossom fluttering

Earth spinning,
swift cyclone
of seasons,
of moments.

A bee in a blossom
dreaming cherry dreams.

Jonas Lamb
April 11, 2013
4 inches fresh snow this morning

Reach out and touch someone....

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