They cut down that tree
Outside my bedroom window.
So painful to watch!
Small, dark-skinned Mexican-Americans
Scampering up branches,
With ropes and saws, and no respect.
What happened to their tradition?
Of indigenous harmony with Nature!
Had it been westernized out of them?
Did they think it dead because it bore no leaves?
Like a paralyzed person
With a rich secret inner life.
And what of
The lush green ivy
Happily curling its way up the trunk,
The sonorous birds nestling lazily in its hollows,
The darting squirrels playing the naked branches.
And what of me - of interdependence -
Who wakened each morn for two decades,
My adult life basking in that spot of green,
A dawn greeting midst the gray cityscape?
Some tree twigs landed in my bedroom,
And within the bark, they were warm and moist, alive.
Did they come to me as a final farewell?
Intuiting how much they would be missed.
What can we do as we bear witness to
The destruction of urban habitat,
Environmental depletion of those rare
Scattered city spots of Nature preserved.
Sometimes now I awaken to
A phantom shadow of that tree,
Seemingly unattached to anything in its midst
It lives on in memory and more.