Tony Robles


Many places are
On lockdown

Like so many birds
And poems that never
Had a chance to fly

A white serviceberry
Tree stands dignified
On the side of Greenville

When it was planted
I do not know

Trees too
Become ill

They have provided
Shelter and have
Been felled
By causes both
Natural and unnatural

And we are told to
Keep proper social distance
wash our hands
Frequently and avoid crowds
Of more than 10 people

Yet the trees
Loom close

The trees sense our
Worry as we fear the
Cough, the fever, the
Shortness of breath

The white
Serviceberry tree
Moves with the

And for the first

I see it


0-9TONY ROBLES, “The People’s Poet” was born in San Francisco and is the nephew of Filipino-American poet, historian and social justice activist Al Robles. He was a shortlist nominee for poet laureate of San Francisco in 2017 and the recipient of the San Francisco Arts Commission individual literary artist grant in 2018. His two books of poetry and short stories, Cool Don’t Live Here No More – A letter to San Francisco and Fingerprints of a Hunger Strike (both published by Ithuriel’s Spear Press) take on the issues of eviction, gentrification and police violence in communities of color. He is also the author of two children’s books, Lakas and the Manilatown Fish and Lakas and the Makibaka Hotel, published by Children’s Book Press and Lee and Low. Tony is currently based in North Carolina and was recently named the 2020 Carl Sandburg Writer-in-Residence.

Other works
6 feet

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