Avery M. Guess is a recipient of a 2015 NEA Fellowship for Poetry. She's a PhD student at University of South Dakota and assistant editor for poetry at South Dakota Review. Recent poems appear in Rogue Agent, Mid-American Review, Southern Humanities Review, and Thrush Poetry Journal. Her chapbook, The Patient Admits, is forthcoming from dancing girl press in summer 2017.

Avery M. Guess

How to Be a Survivor

Understand it's not about coming out unscathed. Look to the gingko. A living fossil, it's been through more than we can dream of with our rootless feet. Our leafless limbs. Six ginkgo trees survived the bombs sent to fell Hiroshima, sheltered under the parasol of the mushroom cloud that bloomed above the city. They dug in. Said no. Insisted on witnessing, on bearing testimony. Accepted their scars as proof they'd been through something. Flung open leaves like fans to keep cool in summer. Dyed their hair bright yellow each fall to infuse themselves with the warmth of a dying sun. Didn't linger over each precious leaf fall. Didn't portion their pain out piece by piece. Learned to let go all at once.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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