BellaOnline Literary Review
Eagle Landing by Albert Rollins


New Life in the Elm Trees

Maggie Koger

You know how these trees used to be
all lithe limbs and sexy leaves
before so many decades waltzed by.
Now look, see a few that still recall
their earlier sweep and razzle-dazzle.
Never mind those big bottom trunks
remembering instead their limber
tippy-toe sapling selves with swelling
xylem links to roots spearing
deep into fertile ground.

There you go, looking into the canopy
swearing by the swept-up sight
of crowns one-hundred-plus feet aloft.
You bet—it would take twenty, thirty
or however many of you balanced
one up and then another stacked
head to toe impossibly high
yet still shaded by leaves layered
between you and what we
used to call heaven.

You know too that in fall
one, two, four weeks and all
those leaves drift down leaving
bare branches to wait out
the winter season sketching
crazy black bark lines in alphabets
not to be read or even looked up to
because these girls will very soon
dress up in spring green satins
swaying in trifle breezes as they
whisper—I, I, I am still that
little strippling I was
not so very long ago.

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