Shape of the Whole Business

From the collection published in 2015, Look Winter in the Face.

Shape of the Whole Business

The tree by the road.
Leaves still hanging
a whole tree-full and that means
there will be no green leaves in spring
but instead
Bark peels
exposing its underskin streaked and dark
open to the weather.
Insects chew at the heart
slowly excavating from inside out.
Branches edge toward
a fall to the road
choose their moments
on impulse with no notice
one day just pieces scattered
around the roots. The roots themselves
give up last.
There is no defense.
The day will come. The tree
You will see it topple
could be in a storm could just
let go and be done.
Brown leaves in winter hanging on the branches
I tell you
there is a pattern and this is its beginning.

Clay tile Bird on a dead tree approx. 6x6 12-16 small

clay tile, 12/2016, @ 6″ x 6″.


8 thoughts on “Shape of the Whole Business

  1. Beautiful observation, so full of sensory elements. I have seen a lot of moribund and dead trees this winter. I hope people opt to chop them down before they fall by themselves.

  2. I’ve noticed a lot of trees in our area kind of declining, which is not surprising, since our suburb is about 60-70 years old and a lot of the trees were planted then. They do have a program for new street trees which is nice to see the new little guys starting off when the old ones go.

  3. Yes, I think our area has trees planted in the 60’s and around that time, and many are starting to fail now. I hope they will be replaced with new ones. And…I agree. Very dead trees can fall without warning, very scary.

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