Death Is A Tree In The Suburbs
P̟a̟r̟t̟ O̟n̟e̟: R̟e̟f̟l̟e̟c̟t̟i̟o̟n̟s̟
In my backyard,
in this modern townhouse suburb,
where the alleyways are grassy
and venerable earth
lies suffocated by cement;
where evergreen pines and maple trees
loom loftily over our homes;
the scent of homemade barbeque
wafts its way around,
and children scream out in play,
racing each other
through their cul-de-sacs,
circling back by the end of the day.
Right now, the morning sun
is arriving tall across our doors,
bringing both disturbance
and opportunity in its golden eye.
My sight is becoming more obscured
by the old tree outside my window-
the one my parents planted
when they moved in, 30 years before
a future like mine was on their minds.
It used to be so small,
like every infant sapling, now it towers
over every roof and moving horizon,
clipping every sun ray
behind the veins of large leaves...
A grand, developed elm tree
on the other side of our street;
standing sure rooted
next to the house on the end-
the tree we would voraciously climb
when we were loud, intrepid children,
paying no mind
to the old lady living inside; the one
who screamed at us for climbing
every time we tried,
until the year she died
and we had no idea. All we had known
was that our favorite tree was back-
because the old lady was dead,
her home abandoned,
and we were far too young
to notice the peculiar change.
Time doesn't wait for you
to notice it, like the sky which races
in circles at a speed too fast to feel,
like the trees that keep growing
without checking in for permission.
Death is a tree in the suburbs-
one too large to keep curated,
so it is stunted or cut down; and Life
is a pernicious vine,
pestering the cracks in the sidewalk
as it breaks its way through them,
growing high and away from concrete
or along the sides of wooden sheds;
always going up, and up, and up...
because nature may
be dying at our hands- even still,
it always wins out in the end.
I wonder how high
these tree branches will take me...
Maybe up into the clouds,
if I never, ever stop.
Scaling their thick limbs, sitting midair
is the closest we can come
to flying without steel wings.
What stands between Life and Death
is air, and a body to get you up there-
skin and bone, between tree and vine,
surrounded by sky; the realm
where life and death conjoin...
P̟a̟r̟t̟ T̟w̟o̟: I̟d̟e̟a̟t̟i̟o̟n̟s̟
I don't climb anymore.
I've been too exhausted for decades.
Now I grumble and bend and ache
like the trees here do;
one side of themselves trimmed
half-dead with hardly a chance,
and the stern winds pushing
their branches close to snapping.
Death is a tree in the suburbs-
every one I've fallen from,
every one that taught me
how to feel alive-
we continue to kill them,
and I continue to die with them.
It was all so different
when we were younger.
Now I helplessly watch it all oscillate,
I get older, feel more ruinous,
with less reason to be alive.
The trees awaken towards the sun,
they beckon me to climb my favorite one,
they whisper this, "If you would die
to see the beauty of this world
one more time, then what have you
What have I to lose?
P̟a̟r̟t̟ T̟h̟r̟e̟e̟: T̟h̟e̟ S̟p̟l̟i̟t̟-S̟e̟c̟o̟n̟d̟ S̟n̟a̟p̟
Death is a tree in the suburbs,
and I, a tired child, am listening-
clamoring and ascending it,
falling one last time for it.
I climb, and I climb,
going up, and up, and up,
clutching the timbered boughs so tightly
they etch imprints into my palms.
I watch the final stage of the sunrise
through decaying orange leaves
and empty bird's nests,
a hundred feet up or more.
I watch the sky bleed its colors,
turning into familiar, beautiful cerulean.
I hear the birds begin their chirping,
closer and sharper than from land.
I wonder if they are speaking to me.
I wonder if they are confused,
I observe the morning dew drops dancing
on my wild wooden throne,
forming like gems on my face
and on the green grass below.
One more breath, and the vertigo begins.
I inhale again and feel myself
smile as I sway, close my eyes
then one more long exhale
as the tree branch holding me
It allows me to fall so rapidly,
before my brain can rush to meet it-
a ragdoll body flying downwards
out of the sunlight,
landing with a rigid crash
deep into the immense shade of fate-
with no one to watch it go but the birds,
the trees, hidden insects, the sky,
and the eye of the rising sun.
It is a most cathartic drop for all.