Tree of Life Review



AIRMAIL: Bodhi Blues — A Year in India: Questioning The Maitreya Project by Jessica Falcone

COLUMN: Storiedmusic — The Night I Walked Out by DJ T’challah

NOVEL EXCERPT: In a State of Partition by Aneesha Capur

UP THE CREEK: Editor’s Notes — Art, Yoga, and Abu Ghraib

Why I Never Came

(Apology to My Mother)

I was nineteen, and that weekend I took
your old Chevrolet to the coast where I goaded
my sometimes lover, the one who put gin
in his coffee, into beating me. His fists
came like hammers, Mama, and when
he had worn himself out on me, when he dragged me
down the gravel road, I thought of you,
and when he laid me like a carcass
in the high grass at the side of Highway 1,
and the sea beat a hundred yards away, inseparable
from the throb of my body,
I thought of you then, too

but I did not come — you in the hospital
dying and I did not come. I bandaged
the ragged cut that swelled like an open mouth
over my eye and I did not come.
I could not say: Mama, I am my father’s
daughter, or Mama, I earn beatings
the way you earn wages. I remember

the moon that night rose slowly and hung
large and gibbous over the hills, over
the roof of the hospital and I watched it
from the front steps of your house until dawn.

Reprinted from Salt, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI, 1991.

Renee Ashley

Renée Ashley

Renée Ashley is the author of three volumes of poetry: Salt, Brittingham Prize in Poetry, The Various Reasons of Light, The Revisionist’s Dream, and a chapbook, The Museum of Lost Wings, as well as a novel, Someplace Like This. She has received fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a contributing editor to The Literary Review, and is on the faculty of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s low-residency MFA Program in Creative Writing. Her essay “Writing on the Brink: Peripheral Vision and the Personal Essay” will appear in the May/Summer issue of AWP’s Writer’s Chronicle.

SPOTLIGHT: A Voice Answering a Voice — A Conversation with Renée Ashley
POEM: The Beautiful Girl is Disturbed
POEM: What She Wanted
POEM: Why I Never Came (Apology to My Mother)