She has beautiful veins. When he licks the line of them drawn up her neck, her sigh is the sound of wind through a eucalypt canopy trunks and branches, his lover’s veins more tree than river, more intricate than these roads running along his arm.
J. Anne DeStaic, Lover Like a Tree.
J. Anne DeStaic is the pen name of Jacqueline Stack who starting writing in 2006. Her short stories have been published in Wet Ink and Journey (a Busybird anthology) and her poetry has been published in Zine West. She is currently working on her first novel.
A graduate of Auckland University Medical School, she is a Paediatrician currently practicing in Sydney’s South West and has an MA in Applied Ethics frm ACU. Her research interests include the long term developmental consequences of premature birth and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.
She lives near the Georges River in a house with a purple roof, a perfumed garden and two dogs.
Here’s what reviewers are saying…
John Boland, Musings of a Literary Dilettante
The haunting Lover like a Tree by J Anne deStaic deserves special mention. It’s the story of a heroin and methadone addict, whose female partner sticks with him even when she’s not sure if she, being an ‘ordinary’ woman, can handle it or fix him. The story employs the metaphors of terrain and tree, and drips with poetic resonance. Preparing to inject himself he ‘wipes the side of his wrist with an alcohol swab and its fragrance hits him quickly as his veins draw like a map up his arm, wide highways painted blue, picked out against the flat plain skin.’ We switch points of view between the addict and his partner, getting both sides of the story as it were. And how lyrical is this description of his drug-induced haze:
… the caress of her hand has the brush of leaves and twigs and her arm over him is a pale bark branch and her hair a canopy of blossoms and birds are sleeping there and butterflies rest in her cool green shade while her roots sink down through the bed and the floor and the earth to its rocks and he feels the rain sliding over him, dripping from her leaves, his lover like a tree.
J Anne deStaic’s haunting tale of addiction left me breathless. Here’s a man caught in ‘his own private storm’ (56), his veins like ‘wide highways painted blue’ (54). Here’s a woman who lays beside him watching him breathe. She remembers ‘the heat of his skin on hers when all that will fit between them is one layer of sweat’ (56). All the man wants is ‘morphine and a lover like a tree’ (58).
Sue Terry, Whispering Gums.com
J Anne deStaic’s “Lover like a tree” is a devastating story about a woman in love with a man in love with his drugs (and yes, also with her). DeStaic conveys this two-edged love, his need for the drug as strong as her need for him, with sensitivity and without judgement. It is what it is.
Meg Hellyer, The Inkwell
An early highlight is J Anne deStaic’s Lover like a Tree, the haunting tale of a girl who is in love with a morphine addict, but does not know how to fix him. There is some beautiful imagery here- ‘the caress of her hand has the brush of leaves and twigs and her arm over him is a pale bark branch and her hair a canopy of blossoms … he feels the rain sliding over him, dripping from her leaves, his lover like a tree.’