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Tree

by
 When the sun goes down
I have my first drink
standing in the yard,
talking to my neighbor
about the alder tree
rising between our houses,
a lowly tree that prospered
from our steady inattention
and shot up quick as a weed
to tower over our rooftops,
where it now brandishes
a rich, luxuriant crown.
Should we cut it down? Neither of us wants to -- we agree that we like the flourishing branches, shade like thick woods.
We don't say it, studying our tree in silence, but we know that if the roots get into the foundations we've got real trouble.
John goes back inside.
Nothing to be done in summer -- not to those heavy branches.
I balance my empty glass on top of a fence post.
In the quiet early dark, those peaceful minutes before dinner, I bend down to the flower beds I love and pull a few weeds -- something I've meant to do all day.

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