The Sperm Trees

It was June, in Allen Gardens, at Sherbourne and Gerrard. Night was coming. Dogs frolicked in the fountains. I heard the sound of sirens, and everything smelled warm and fecund, like semen. The tiny pale petals of the Callery pear had swept across the park, summer snow, spilling trimethylamine, dimethylamine. The dusk was ripe with volatile amines, pungent perfume like yesterday’s sex. I was already floating with the fireflies above those sperm trees, watching you tapping at my body with frantic fingers.

I don’t think she’s breathing, you cried to a Chinese T-girl who had stopped to ask you for a bump. I was only with it enough to know you nervously offered her a cigarette. I heard the small spark and inhaled a gravelly memory of nicotine. I felt her soft wrists and hard breasts against my face and arms. I smelled lavender and peppermint, piss and honey. Heard her say, she is, but barely. Someone’s mobile phone clattered to the stones, someone scrambled for it, someone said into it, someone took too much of everything, who knows what. I was far away from all of you and from those gardens, somewhere lonely and tight like the closet where I would hide from mother’s episodes when I was small. A place where all the noise and fear faded to white. I could feel the smooth nub of that worn green carpet on the soles of my small feet. I could hear the muffled, gleeful barking of the hounds running the park, but the twirling warning of the ambulance was louder, metallic and clear above it, like an oboe.

When I returned, I didn’t know where I had been, or how long I’d been gone. You were all seated in a circle, inside, on my filthy floor. You asked me how I was, wanted to know what it was like, that remote place, that space where I’d gone where I couldn’t feel anything at all. You wanted to know what they’d done to me in the hospital, and how I ended up back home. I didn’t know what you were talking about, and I didn’t want to talk about it. Wiped the rivulet seam of scum from the corner of my mouth, asked if someone could cut me another line.

Lorette C. Luzajic is the editor of The Ekphrastic Review, an online journal dedicated to writing inspired by art. Her own poetry has appeared in several hundred online and print publications, including Indelible, Wild Word, Nine Muses Poetry, Misfit Magazine, Cultural Weekly, Black Coffee Review, Heart of Flesh, and more. She was twice nominated last year for a Pushcart Prize, as well as for Best of the Net. She is currently at work on her fifth collection of poetry, her second ekphrastic book. Visit her at

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