The city took down an American elm on our corner that was slowly dying. That tree provided shade all summer long for three homes. Its trunk must have been 3 1/2 feet in diameter with its crown spreading over 100 feet. After almost two decades of living under its reach, I was heartbroken to see it come down. I wrote this poem at the time, and now I often pause when I pass its stump.
Old elmAbandoned farmhouse,greying outbuildings.In your final winter, you stoodwith empty, cracking branchesto tell us plainthat your kind shade would be gone - My father, too, would warn us soin his gruffled, dying voice to give us time to account,to record, to not be frightened. Empty sky. Time unwinds.I see you bud up from soil in a crowded prairie beforethis town, this house,my people. I bend here on your stumpshaved to the ground.Our kinship remains. Deeper need -a certain kind of new breath. We vine together.You remind me, I thank you.You hold me, I bless you.You become me, I become you.