United States

23 neurotic crows in a recycled flesh suit
lee | he/they | 18 | intp-t | lgbtq+
est. march '20
CA alum summer '20
poetry and spoken word competition winner '20
wtw review issue 2.2
peer review summit facilitator march '21

Message from Writer

guess i'm here again?

Crape Myrtle

July 20, 2020

Summer in Alabama means strong storms:  lots of rain, window-shaking thunder, and forty-mile-per-hour wind gusts. I’ve learned not to be so scared of them - they’re beautiful, actually. I stand under the overhang on my porch and watch as the wind picks up. The cicadas hum and the birds call in a dissonant crescendo until suddenly, they don’t, and then lightning arcs down from the sky. The trees in my yard are tall enough to catch the high-up winds, and their branches wave and tangle together. Sometimes they fall - we have a twelve-footer hanging on our fence that we’ve left because it looks cool. After the most recent storm, the yard is littered with leafy twigs and thicker, more hearty branches. My sister’s worried the trees themselves will fall, because when the wind blows hard enough, the whole trunk sways.
I’ve never been worried about the tall trees - the hackberries are strong, and the oaks have aggressive root systems, so they’re not going anywhere. But we have two smallish crape myrtles not far from the porch that are thin and twisting. They came from the tree in our driveway - one that’s blossoms create snow-like flurries when the wind blows the right way - and its the seeds blew into potted plants and sprouted trees, and once they were big enough, we relocated them to the earth. I’ve watched them through many a storm, awed as they bent and stretched in the wind, their trunks thin enough to snap. They’re bigger now, but I still worry that they’ll break in a too-strong gust of wind.
They’re surprisingly resilient. They remind me a bit of myself - I too am thin and twisting, my spine curving laterally in two different places like the knobbly splits in the crape myrtle’s trunk. I too am worried I might snap in metaphorical strong winds, am worried I’m too thin and may be uprooted.
But I don’t. I haven’t yet. I just keep bending.
Crape myrtles seem to be a Southern staple - they come in all sorts of colours and sizes and they’re all over my state. Our three are white, but there’s a pink one in a neighbour’s yard and a purple one down the street. In the winter, it’s seen as attractive to cut all their longer branches off and leave nubs on the trunk, since they lose all their leaves. Google it - it’s really strange and I don’t like it.


See History
  • July 20, 2020 - 9:03am (Now Viewing)

Login or Signup to provide a comment.

  • black_and_red_ink

    This is great. I love how you made this so personal about your life in Alabama. And the concluding line was beautiful :) .

    over 1 year ago
  • Anne Blackwood

    Ooh we have a (purple) crape myrtle too and also wow great piece

    over 1 year ago
  • Pravartika Wankhede

    Another comparison I've heard from Southern folks is that with buckwheat, in the sense that it bends but does not break. Wheat, sapless: breaks. This just reminded me of that.

    over 1 year ago
  • Stone of Jade

    this is so beautiful! great imagery and symbolism

    over 1 year ago