"I am a Tree, My Lovers Fly To and From Me," 1986

“I am a Tree…” exemplifies the influence of Black women as love interests in Knight’s life. These relationships and their endings are sources of sadness and inspiration for Knight, helping him to mature and strengthen his poetic voice.

In this poem, Knight reflects on the love, fear, and insecurity he felt with both lovers he describes. He juxtaposes the first woman’s activism and vibrant personality with his own immaturity and fear that drives her away. He then reflects on his time with the second woman, whose warmth and love he could enjoy because he had matured, although perhaps not enough emotionally—the stones growing in their bed weigh on and separate them, leading to the end of their relationship. 

 

Though “I Am a Tree” shows Knight’s insecurity as a factor in driving away both lovers, it is a poem of love and loss that reaches its audience; they feel the emptiness of his lover zooming away and the weight of the stones that grow in the couple’s bed. 

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