The Crying Tree

Laura Madeline Wiseman

The Crying Tree

The fairies have begun crying. They’ve cried wolf, stood as the town crier to give the general cry, the far cry, the cry from the heart, for the moon, within cry of you standing there watching where you think she’s gone, a dark corner of your office where you say you sometimes see. The fairies drank from the whiskey crier, cried over the spilt milk, cried out their eyes, cried on my shoulder, cried on theirs, cried all the way to the bank where they gave the cry of pleasure, crying forth in the moonlight, crying last. Iceland has screaming trees, the place a man can holler, can scream down the sun, scream off the stars, scream back to who he was before hunger, economy, loss, whatever has set him off this time, but the fairies have the crying tree, a red dribbling creature without leaves, a swirl deep among shaggy palms, old yuccas, scrub growth of thorns. Out in the wood in full cry of the red crescent moon, they give the great cry, the good cry. They are crying out for me, for her, for you.


Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of twenty books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). Her books are Drink (BlazeVOX, 2015), Wake (Aldrich Press, 2015), American Galactic (Martian Lit Books, 2014), Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience (Lavender Ink, 2014), Queen of the Platform (Anaphora Literary Press, 2013), and Sprung (San Francisco Bay Press, 2012). Her dime novel is The Bottle Opener (Red Dashboard, 2014). Her collaborative books are The Hunger of the Cheeky Sisters: Ten Tales (Les Femmes Folles Books, 2015) with artist Lauren Rinaldi and Intimates and Fools (Les Femmes Folles Books, 2014) with artist Sally Deskins. Her most recent chapbook is Threnody (Porkbelly Press, 2014). She holds a doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has received an Academy of American Poets Award, a Mari Sandoz/Prairie Schooner Award, and the Wurlitzer Foundation Fellowship. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Margie, Mid-American Review, Calyx, Ploughshares, The Iowa Review, and Feminist Studies. Currently, she teaches English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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