SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

The Flowering Pear

never fruits. Yet each March blossoms burst

along every branch raised over our neighbors’

bed of daffodils and glinting windmill art.


Its pale petals screen dark limbs, a bridal veil

drawing attention to what’s obscured.

Alive and flowering, it’s unlike the windthrows


or widow-makers Nick usually offers us to cut

and haul to our woodpile. Generous to a fault,

he grins as if we’re doing him the favor.


He says it has been pretty and still is. Tells us 

they planted it on their wedding day. But now

that Judy says it’s invasive, it has to go.


Married four years to their twenty, what do we know

of when to hew and root out a beginning, 

of how to save all that has been cultivated since?


We know oak burns steady. Dogwood catches quick.

Sweetgum is nearly impossible to split. Poplar

puts out too little heat. And flowering pear?


What else can we say? But that we need fire

and wood to feed it. We’ll haul it home,

fill our stove, learn something of how it burns. 

Tina Mozelle Braziel, author of Known by Salt (Anhinga Press) and Rooted by Thirst (Porkbelly Press), has been awarded the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry, an Alabama State Council on the Arts fellowship, and an artist residency at Hot Springs National Park. She directs the Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop at UAB. She and her husband, novelist James Braziel, live and write in a glass cabin that they are building by hand on Hydrangea Ridge


Desperate Beauty