David Kutz-Marks


I do not know what a fever tree is. Nor do I wish to.
I imagine it’s a kind old tree, born old, who wants to go back

to the youth he never had, to be a sapling again as he says, but he can’t.
I have taught the fever tree to speak
so many times it’s as if I’ve become
his only real teacher. When you are ill, the fever tree’s there
at the window with something. No one really knows what it is
or what it is, but he is, and he holds it in his arms.

Long ago I had my own mother, and a father who drifted
in and out now and again through the curtains when the window
had been opened in secret. The fever tree is in
the mind, the fever tree is all the mind is.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s not good or plausible
to be here. But I’m a fever tree. I can’t hear you.

David Kutz-Marks is the author of Violin Playing Herself in a Mirror (University of Massachusetts Press, 2015), winner of the 2014 Juniper Prize for Poetry. Recent poems appear in The New Yorker, Boston Review, jubilat, and other venues. David serves on the faculty of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.