Max French


It’s been five years since I’ve seen your grave.
I was afraid of it, to stand on the grassy scar of you.
Your headstone is carved with an oak tree,
At its center is a heart. That’s supposed to be you,
But it looks nothing like you. I show you
Pictures of the kids, I cry heavy tears because I wish
That you had had the chance to meet them.
I stare at that tree, I could have screamed
If I thought that you would hear it.

Truth is always worse when you confront it.
I haven’t been here in five years because
You were never actually here. The day you died
Your dust mingled with the eons.
You aren’t an oak tree, or a carving of one,
You live now as sap. You are stuck to my hands,
You attach yourself to everything I touch.
The age of you is fossilized in amber jewel.

Nanny loves the children by the way.
They’re so funny. They would have made you laugh.
She misses you with every breath and ache.
She doesn’t say it anymore, but it might as well
Be written on her skin. Your name might as well
Be brushed through her brittle hair.
When she joins you as an ancient particle,
As a breeze, as a slow coursing sweetness
That pours from our very nature
I hope she looks exactly how you remember
And not like some silly little rock in the dirt.

When Max French was 12 years old, he wrote a poem for English class that was so concerning to the teacher that he ended up in a counselors office to discuss his emotions. For 15 years I have been chasing that level of influence. Find him on Instagram @maxfrenchpoetry.