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A Stand of Swamp Maples in Purcellville, Virginia

From the window you can see which trees I mean.
I used to have a view for twenty acres
of pine and poplar woods, a cattle pasture
where Iíd see mother foxes with their kits.

Now, only these dozen trees divide me
from townhouses sprouting from the hills.
Rotten to the root, they wonít survive,
their branches webbed with fat silk-moth cocoons.

When I called Pro Arbor Tree Service in Reston,
an agent asked to take my information
and told me he could send a crew next Tuesday.
I hung up without leaving my number.

Iím glad I thought of you and glad you came.
With my bursitis, I canít do much these days.
Strong enough last week to tug the pullcord
of my saw, I walked across the woodyard,

and breathed the blue fumes the chainsaw belched,
listening to it shriek as I touched the teeth
to the sickliest tree.  I had to stop myself.
I wasnít up to it.  But now youíre here.

Take the woodshed keys.  The sawís gassed up.
I see you brought your old Dodge Power Wagon.
Haul all the wood you need.  I donít want money.
Just leave a quarter cord behind for me.

Brian Brodeur


Fall 2013

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