From Issue 23: "Lines of Communication [Survival]" by Sue Scavo (Poetry)

Reading time: approximately 2 minutes

What I enjoyed most about this work is the weight it carries in such a small space, much as the tree in Sue Scavo's imagery. It spoke to me as well of what many of us have felt these past few years as so many things seem to be going wrong at once and grief is never far away. What anchors us? How do we face the future? Scavo offers one answer.

If you'd like to hear a recording by the poet, can find it on our Listen page for Issue #23.

And of course, let us know your thoughts by posting over at our Facebook page, or reaching out to us on Twitter. Thanks for reading!

Mare Heron Hake

Poetry Editor



Lines of Communication [Survival]


by Sue Scavo


This is what this tree teaches me, the one hollowed, burnt,

twisted: when something happens to the body, it is not reason

to stop. Instead, keep all impossibilities. This tree, held at cliff

edge by intermingled and root. Keep pull and flow, keep

movement, keep scarred and twist. Keep it all, the tree tells me.

No matter what happened [lightning, fire, wind, human hands],

keep the body.



reprinted with the permission of the poet

Sue Scavo had this to say about her work:

This poem, part of a series about "communication" I have been working on for a long time, came from being with a tree at the north rim of the edge of the Grand Canyon. The tree had been hit by lightning, many times. Partly blackened. The tree had been wind-shaped as if by a lathe. The tree had roots that reached and reached and dug in. The tree was thriving. Yes, I thought, yes.

Sue Scavo is a poet and dreamworker; is discovering; is curious; is terrified and exhilarated; is perpetually surprised; is fighting demons; is learning to stop wrestling with angels. She is also the author of Buried [A Place] from Anhinga Press and Co-Editor/Founder of Deluge, an online Literary and Arts Journal.

Websites:,,,, Facebook: susan.marie.scavo, Instagram: @smscavo, Twitter: @susanmariescavo