I watched you die slowly.
Forced to bear witness,
as the life was sucked from your delicate branches,
a helpless spectator as your shiny silver blades
turned brittle and brown.
One by one the limbs were infected,
amber droplets oozed
sap rushed to soothe the cuts
but nothing could heal the fatal wound
that happened when no one was watching.
No compost or care could mend this turn of fate.
A skirt of rust lay scattered and lifeless on the ground.
One day I knew the battle was over.
Accepted the rich humus would become fertile soil
for the next set of roots to sink their fingers into.
Bowed to nature’s incessant drive to recycle,
the wisdom of oxygen and worms.
Even our own cells are slowly replacing themselves
until we are no longer the same as before.
Musing on the 52 year cycle of the Aztecs,
a revolving world requiring constant sacrifice and rebirth,
I solemnly fetched the saw from the dark tomb of the garage.
Hot tears streamed down my face
as I said a prayer and chopped you down.
My heart ached watching your upturned arms
tumble with a thud to the ground.
I felt the reverberation beneath my feet,
and sensed the unrelenting march of time.
And when it was over,
I just sat there stunned,
staring at the empty space you left.
Yearned for the protection of your elegant, arching branches
cutting shadow shapes against the endless blue of the sky.
Your roots once anchored me,
held me snug against the earth.
Now I float like a dandelion,
dancing weightless in the breeze,
looking for rich soil to scatter my seed.