tonic shelterbelt

the 90 year old juniper
is unquestionably the ugliest
flora on the continent
planted by the thousands
in subarctic climates.
Because nothing else will survive
forming broad stockades along
the entire north and west sides of town.
maybe by Civilian Corps
or by some town father
who got bribed by a juniper grower.
Sprigs and sticks planted
in an attempt to
Curb the dustbowl flow,
They form a stalwart barrier
Against howling Chinook.
Blizzards, too, halted at the barricade.
Snowdrifts piled up to rooftops
In the old days when Colorado had snow.

Battle-scarred, growing in random fashion
Sprouting branches in a confusing bramble
From a distance appear as if Spanish moss
Exploded haphazardly on dead trunks.

The tantalizing blue-gray
slightly poisonous berries
tempted Russians toward enchanting
semi-toxic gin,
to float away winters gloom.

the green fort leans perilously
away from sharp currents
appearing as if any single one
could topple at any moment.
Yet they stand, backs bent
Will unbroken,
Sentinels eternally on guard.

They appear a little annoying in this
Era of climate change
their sprawling forms
a bit redundant.
blocking snowcapped mountain vistas.
in summer junipers breathe out
an allergy laden pollen
with noxious yellow particles.
New home buyers slice down the odoriferous beasts.

On a ridiculously warm
south by southeast wind sort of day,
I walk my Jack Russell/Eskimo terrior
who seems ill dressed today.
air within the juniper walled enclosure
seems warm.
fluffy, innocuous clouds ease on by.
Intrepidly, I stride just beyond
Cedar Centurions
onto immobilizing Siberian Steppes.
The temperature drops 10 degrees and
The wind ramps up 20 mph.
Perhaps forest wisdom still endures,
Green and lush against
Brown, dusty winter drought.


  1. love this – was recollecting most recently of the cemetery and the barriers – junipers: comforting enclosing all encompasing insulation .

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