Tara Jayakar: What Use to the Living

devotional where we are falling forever


a fungus is wiping out brooklyn’s

oak trees through sudden


dehydration. Oak Wilt, spread

through migrating beetles, is named


for how the fungus constricts

each oak’s waterways—all these palm-sized leaves


splotched with brown, all these high

trunks tracked with scars.


a truncated stump, a diameter almost as long as I am

flush against a verdant lawn—


it’s a project of prevention.

where could the wood have gone?


what of its neighbors,

who were sending it sugar


while it died? what of their suckling

young? and what use


to the living are the waterless

dead? i’ve tied up


some passageways myself, mostly

to the houses that came with this body, or maybe


just the one.

Tara Jayakar is a Brooklyn-based Midwesterner & freelance editor, lover of bread and space. She is the Founder/Bookmaker at Raptor Editing, & she holds an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. Tara's work has appeared in The Shoreline Review, the Lumina Journal blog, MACK, andHeadspace #1