The Walnut Tree

Is a home dependent on unbroken?
Does rain fall on no particular roof?

He came arrayed in water
wanting my mother to adjust
(beating hard on the windows
wanting in)
a flower girls dress
the dress was in the car,
the man was in the house,
the storm was inbetween
and it flexed unanticipated
muscles; out lights flickered;
thoughts flickered -

he mentioned the tree to be
chopped down, walnut,
(huricanic anger
wanted the tree)
and growing in the front yard,
if it didn't fell itself
in surrender to torrent
and tempest,
and at camps and even
in Europe, hand met hand
protesting the fall of the house
of squirrels -
(and it huffed
and it puffed
but it was the big tree
that could
and it fought,
huffing and puffing itself,
against the surrender
of altitude.)

It may fall, he committed,
but he, and other fretting minds,
hoped walnut could with-
stand weather,
could play its war games better,
could find a faster route
(surrender might mean suffrage
in that house, for rain)
to checkmate, even to stalemate,
extra fire wood found in the yard
or on the trampoline even,
but if it weakened
it would still outstrength
shingles and hardwood blueprints,
if the hand of unknown gods
or unknown fates so guided -
(it hungered for that roof
it strove to smite
the shepherd's sanctuary
only a driveway

I saw later, the tree
still standing, that the dagger
could have reached the heart,
plunged with a cold, wet hand
and twisted,
(its legs were too strong
that day)
removing tissue and blood
and leaving an open wound
that future foes would squirt
lemon juice in, insult
to injury, wet furniture
to orificed roof, no mercy
for the family inheriting
an ill-placed walnut tree,
but ill-placed, apparently,
has no bone with ill-tempered,
(it stands and waits
to be tested again
and the family prays
because it still stands,
and will until blooming
(until chainsaws and
labor crews
sound its demise with)


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