Between Chapters of
I start sawing it off, just the one trunk and then I remember to ask permission of the tree lay hands on it wait a moment wonder what can I give in return? start sawing again an awkward angle if it hurts you it should pain me too then I hope maybe I’m kind of returning you to the privacy of your own privet heritage (or is the privet hedge a human construct, not your natural state?) but I’m sawing every which way because unlike Potawatomi black ash basket weavers I do. not. know. what I’m doing I’m sawing until I hear you tear, begin to break I keep sawing your clean bright interior I keep sawing with my hand on your footlegtrunkshoulderarm and then you’re down, separated from your siblings and now yes there’s more room for my patio umbrella my you’re heavy and I pitch you onto the lawn and then I with actual drops of sweaty anguish on my forehead I heft you onto my shoulder and walk toward the pile of yard trim whispering I bless your wayward growing I bless your foot of rooting I bless your leg of standing I bless your trunk of ringing bark I bless your shouldering of branches and leaves I bless your arm and hand of waving each and every season and instead of laying you on the pile of yard trim I exert my weakling gratitude and stand you up against a manmade wooden fence so that the end does not feel so quick.
Here [A Resolution]
Where, as the sun rises, the same old birds announce light again and all seems well; Where, as each minute seven new souls arrive snatching at breath, water, life; Where, as the children are sleeping in the next room, gas leaks from the stove all night; Where, as we clothe ourselves, shreds of plastic fall from our bodies to shower the soil; Where, as fifth grade, in its overheated classroom, asks if the sun will explode; Where, as we inhabit in this generation a right to prosperity and also low prices; Where, as we have long since crossed local apparent noon and approach our twilight; Where, as each minute four hundred eighty-three trees meet our diamond swords; Where, as night falls, longitude by longitude, we resist with switches; Where, as some hit the drive-through, some open a can and some put on a pot to boil, for we all must eat; Be it therefore resolved that everything is happening here, and now, to each and every one of us; and if your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us be here now, and brew the coffee and stew the beans and walk the children to school together, allowing a narrow latitude of grace and keeping our eye on the bending arc of this place, this small patch and grand horizon, Where, as, we live.
©2023 Heidi Mordhorst
All rights reserved
…is the author of two collections of poetry for young readers as well as contributions to journals and anthologies for both adults and children. She taught in public schools for 35 years and recently served on the NCTE Excellence in Poetry Award Committee. Heidi now coaches young writers and provides poetry enrichment classes in Montgomery County, MD.