KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
Poem: 159 words

Where the Dead Return as Trees

by Arminé Iknadossian

If you miss the dead, drive slowly 
through a tunnel of beech trees, 
or take a nap under the rainbow eucalyptus. 
I pick a persimmon, slice it, salt it, 

eat with fork and knife. 
I don’t miss her anymore. 
Oak is for the oldest souls, 
walnut for Egyptians, magnolia 

for those who died from misery 
like Maria Callas. Children return 
as juniper, almond, weeping willow. 
The sick come back as Baobabs 

that live forever, and the manzanita’s 
blood root holds wanderers, 
orphans and the childless. Wisteria 
for women killed by their husbands, 

sequoia for every soldier who died in battle. 
The suicides return as pomegranate, 
the celebrated as plain bamboo. 
My namesake is an apricot tree, 

and a favorite uncle a Joshua Tree 
opening his arms to lift me up. 
Both my grandfathers are cedars of Lebanon. 
I know my mother will be olive, 

my father cypress, my sisters two sturdy ponderosa pines. 


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