Here Is The Aspen Tree By Martina Dominique Dansereau

Here Is The Aspen Tree

He says fuck you, queer
and the words roll down my spine like a tractor
plowing away at my dirt-and-stone
pride, catching the roots of the budding flowers sown
into my heart and tearing them out of the earth. You and I
had gardened for a long time before those flowers had sprouted.
I remember sitting with you in the
early hours of morning and
trying to plot the land, eyeing the pothole-weed-rock terrain
and sketching how to make
something beautiful out of these disasters we called our
identities, reaping parts of ourselves
until they crumbled into sand. We have a lot of work to do,
you said, and so we marched through cities
and took back the night, painting ‘queer’ across wind-roughened
cheeks and stamping it on lips tasting of stale smoke and chapstick.
Behind the wall of reclaimed slurs, we planted seeds that we hoped
would grow into a forest.
Here is the aspen tree, here is
the birch, here is something
unrecognizable that we made out of the shadows. There
are the tulips we whispered out of the ground, softly. There, our
orchards that we had worked to cultivate from
these pieces of ourselves that we have only just begun to understand,
carving ourselves homes out of unfamiliarity.
You and I are walking in the city when he
comes up from behind, says fuck you, queer
and spits at our feet. You take my hand and try
to squeeze me strength
but here is the aspen tree
and here it is falling, and
there petals are shedding as the flowers-turned-glass shards pierce
through skin, splitting open, bleeding inwards.
We tried to grow forests,
but men cut them down.

By Martina Dominique Dansereau


Martina Dominique Dansereau is a (gender) queer writer and anarcha-feminist from the lower mainland of Vancouver, Canada, who spends the majority of xyr time blogging, crying over spoken word, and attempting to leave xyr house to attend anarchist/activist events. For xem, writing is a vital part of healing from trauma and mental illness as well as a platform to share xyr voice as a marginalized identity. For over a year now xe has taken up performing spoken word at the Vancouver Poetry Slam and other venues, including organizing a monthly spoken word event at a local café for LGBTQ+ people. Xyr poetry is forthcoming in Doll Hospital Journal. Xyr passions include anti-oppression and social justice, queering platonic relationships, radicalizing self-care, cuddling pythons, going on midnight walks in the rain, and dreaming about one day being a renowned writer-activist with a house full of snakes. You can find more of xyr work online at

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