Cutting Down the Anniversary Pine
Things expand. Plans change. Clouds disperse,
people move. I remember swimming
through a dream’s warm water, and rising
for air only to find that I no longer lived
within that need, in that space demanding
the physiological transport of oxygen,
where the laws of physics reigned supreme,
and geometry, with a little luck, posited
all the right questions. And then the clock
blared and morning slammed me back.
Trees grow, as do needs and lives and even
cottages. We took down the dead Jack pine
that year, and drank skip-and-go-nakeds
by the pitcherful, while mosquitoes swarmed
me and ignored everyone else. It’s important,
but I still can’t recall the white pine, nor
where you planted it forty-three years ago.
Symbol or not, its treeness intrudes.
So we suffer these things with age, and if
what we cut down carries meaning beyond
cellulose and shade, bark and pine scent,
we’ll bear that mourning, too. So fuel your
saw, brother, and sharpen the chain. Today
becomes yesterday. Tomorrow never waits.
* * *
“Cutting Down the Anniversary Pine” was drafted during the Tupelo Press 30-30 Challenge in August 2015, and was published by Quiet Letter in April 2017.