It’s getting personal: the maws of a garbage truck
chew up the spindly linden tree so that no bird can rest
or tune the pitch of the wind an octave higher.
We make druidical plaints in common memes,
that man combats collapse through urban green.
Ex-cathedra, the second truck arrives,
disgorging trowels and flimsy flats of flowers
that underscore the theme of our despair:
instead of birds, a notional ant or common fly
makes its infinitesimal progress through ash and silt.
Why mourn a stalk of tree amidst the general decline?
Because it was our weathervane, its every shudder
doubled in the glass, its every dark suspension
marking a lapse between the thunder claps.
The western wind that flails around the spires
the errant kite that tore some child’s hand
the lashings of the rainstorm meshed in cloud
now seek an elsewhere for their roost.
If you can bear the shabby and inane.
the awnings flapping in desultory time
an air of naphthalene and menace of grue,
perhaps because of riddled hopes
or better yet, some twisted, altruistic root
staked to the pit guards like a holy martyr,
follow us to a place where water once ran clear.
Carol Alexander writes books for children and poetry for the rest of us. She has been published in a few dozen literary ezines and print journals, including Chiron Review, Canary, Red River Review, Mobius. Her poem “Port Arthur Girl” won Honorable Mention in the NPR Studio 360 Listener Challenge. A more complete, tedious author bio is available on request.