ISSUE THIRTEEN | FALL 2019
In elementary school, I had to conduct
a Leaf Project. I visited Grandma,
who helped me identify the leaves
in her yard. She told me about them
and also about what happened in those
trees at night: men gathered and burnt
God, wore white masks. They’re bad men.
This was Tennessee in the 90s.
It is easy to believe the history books
are already written,
that they all end in 1968, with tragedy that is
also, somehow, victorious. I can’t make
that story make sense. I can’t square the Nashville
of my childhood with the one that has shows
named after it. In no way do I consider
anything resolved. The Confederate flags
in my high school parking lot are a scourge
I didn’t confront. I can’t tell you anything about
leaves or trees or why anyone decides
what to do. Sometimes I still pray. But mostly
I hope that when I stoop to pick up a leaf, I will stand
to find the forest
Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Todd Osborne currently lives and works in Mississippi. His poems have previously appeared or are forthcoming at Tar River Poetry, The Missouri Review, Redactions, Gravel, and elsewhere.
DO YOU LOVE NAT. BRUT?
If you enjoy Nat. Brut and consider yourself a reader of the magazine, please consider donating to us! We are a fledgling non-profit on a shoe-string budget, and our staff is 100% volunteer (all of us!). Every dollar you give goes directly back into the operations of the magazine. Consider giving today!