The Chi Chi Tree

By Jeffrey Alfier
By Jeffrey Alfier

By Marco A. Vasquez

Perhaps we named it that
because it was kind of round,
but freakishly pointy, as only
an innocent would envision
something they have only seen

within T-shirts and sweaters,
but never in the flesh, or because
of the more realistic mounds
on the trunk that may once have birthed
branches, that allowed just enough

leverage for my Buster-Browned feet
to climb, below a knotty maze
of roots, and dirt—sprinkled
with cigarette butts and embedded
bottle caps. Regardless, it was where we

all met on evenings before cable television
and video games, scrambling to make
our way up, a net of limbs just above
our adolescent heads, but still within
an easy climb’s reach. Once up,

we’d lean against the forgiving branches—
alive beneath our spines—and talk of girls
and skateboarding, and girls and school,
and girls and girls, until we hoped
our mothers would forget to call us in

for dinner, some of us looking down
at where the dirt became grass,
but some of us, we looked up
at the unbelievable blueness of the sky,
and when it was dark, we saw stars.


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