Ballad of the Cypress Tree

Planted side by side, 12 trees

Once lined the drive, up

to our home where we live-

where we rest, work, play, cry.


Eighteen years they framed our periphery.

Markers of majesty, preceding

the front entry

like medieval trumpet players would announce

the crown.


Our kingdom was humble save for the long line

of towering trees

elegant and silent.
Never wavering or shedding.

Ever present

for baby showers, pre-school parties, sixth grade graduation gatherings.

A landmark distinguishing



Once, the car collided with tree number 10.

Took out the lower section of branch like a tooth that’s been pulled.

Left a flower-shaped hollow in my bumper.

Both remain for all to



And once, the little-tykes car was saved from the ten-foot drop

by tree number three

when the toddlers reigned.


But last week the downpour

drenched the earth

around tree number nine-

the lowest and first in line.

Like a relentless battering ram

the wind slammed!

Tore her from the ground.

Ransacked her roots

til her thirty foot body fell

Barricading the driveway.

She lay, still-


until I found her with my rear tires.

I didn’t know.


Yesterday we lost her to the chainsaw.

Placed her in a rented trash bin

six-feet-by-four feet.


Her severed roots, twisted

and bundled round a mound of dirt-

perch above the gaping hole-

a gutted soul-

like a tombstone.


Doused by storm

she soaked in the water

like a cistern.

Blocked the wind

like a frontline soldier absorbs the first fire during battle-

Fulfilled her position as Protector

of trees 1-8 and 10-12.

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