Now age 20, dwarfed and smothered of light
By a giant Coast Maple, there before its time. Once,
it was a sapling planted by a couple, the ex-
husband called it the stick, a mean-spirited nick-
name for such a lovely being. As it grew, it set
out new saplings up and down the yard—its
young, for which there was no room. The mower
chewed them up, and as the Aspen grew it shared
fewer of them until it gave up on making a grove,
attending to its own struggle in the Maple's shade.
Quaking, shimmering leaves on a summer afternoon
make music like no other sound. Goldfinches sing along,
preparing nests for their young, then begin losing their
bright yellow coloring in late autumn as the Aspen flashes
leaves of the brightest gold, as if borrowing color from
the birds. Then the leaves fall, and the tree sleeps and
waits for spring.
This spring was the Aspen's last, with few brave leaves
on bare boughs that still stretch for the sun. I will
burn incense in its bark, will sit against its strong white
trunk—maybe will sing to it—before the workers come.
Written for dVerse Poetics: 9th year Anniversary hosted by Brian Miller, whose encouraging anniversary prompt inspired my first poem in nearly a year. My case of writer's block has been debilitating and I thank him for coaxing something, just anything, out of me!