BellaOnline Literary Review
The Stairway by Debi Gardiner



Charlotte Zang

On tranquil Sunday afternoons,
Grateful for the silence, I hardly notice
The enormous hickory tree
Maybe a hundred feet tall
Guarding this side of the street.

Shading the tiny wooden deck, splintering and dull
A place for rusty iron chairs
Pretending to be whole, hiding under cushions
That have seen too many summer storms.

I know it is a hickory
By the little brown nuts
That rain down with a “Pang!”
On my old blue car, stuck until the tow truck comes

I measure, a literal tree hugger,
But my fingers don’t reach
Around the cold gray trunk
Busy with big black ants going nowhere but up and down.

Careful to avoid the poison ivy
Climbing, clinging
Ten feet up on one side and gaining every day.

Squirrels fan their tails, bark at their mates, race along branches.
Undisturbed by the neon orange X
They will leap to the nearby oak
After the chainsaw roars.

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Spring Equinox 2012 Table of Contents