even though I knew it was ill last winter
I tugged at its piteous twigs
searching for a spot of green
painting tree healing medicine on a deep wound at its center
hoping against that which was already decided.
I remembered how we towed it home in a Honda Civic.
digging a ridiculously large hole
accidentally cutting through cable and phone lines
covering it all with a profusion of flowers.
disregarding my own burning questions.
I swear I heard it then,
I heard your wild heart
churning an anguished,
while you leaned hard against your shovel
as you gasped out the crazy unfamiliar name,
“Cutleaf Weeping a River Willow?”
and you twirled the veins of serrated leaves against the blazing sun.
“how long before I lay beneath Her Shade?”
I heard it all in the sharp, timeless, demanding, prairie current
as it tilted both your spines, I heard that insidious Wind
Call for you.
this spring I promised myself not to cry as i cut It quickly to the ground.
now I water the worried stump,
searching for a sprout among the weeds.