Three men came to take you away this morning,
pulled you out by your trunk, needles scattered behind you,
a ring of them around the spot you stood only moments before.
They took you to the edge of the street and left you lying in the gutter.
Each one of your arms folded tightly by your sides
just as they had been when they carried you in
and we huddled around you
smelling you from deep within.
A thing of beauty brought in from the wild.
The sap from your trunk intoxicating and endlessly alive.
We strung lights around you and decorated you with such care.
Sat around you before bedtime drinking sleepy-time tea with honey and
milk. Gazing up at your lighted beauty, we gave you all of our wishes
whispered to you day and night.
You took them in and made us feel they were sure to come true.
Your green motherly love seemed to have no end.
You are lying now in the street as a woman walks by on her phone
stepping around you, unaware of what you were to us
blind to your beauty, deaf to our wishes that still hang from each bough.
I walk out to you and sit beside you and tell you that I am sorry.
For being human, for using your life for only a few weeks of joy.
I promise you that you will be our last tree.
Clippings of you on the counter and I can still smell your sweet smell.
By now you should be in the back of someone’s truck
on your way to repair the coastline of Louisiana,
battered and broken and thankful to have you.
It wasn’t for nothing but it’s too much to ask
for a tree to stop being a tree in the ground
for only a handful of human moments.
It was not my right to take your life and I promise you
it will never happen again.
All works © 2017, Shelley Hesse. All Rights Reserved.