napowrimo day 25

by larapayne

Tree time

Four trees line the road. Three
leaf out in that green gold
that is specific to new
leaves. The fourth, which stands
in the middle, has no leaves. It doesn’t
even have many branches, anymore.

A winter eye may not have noticed
the tree had died, but here,
in the midst of spring’s riotous excess,
it is clear. The bark has peeled off
and shows white in many places. No birds

will nest here, but many colonies of insects
will flourish for as long as the city
ignores this tree. For every visit
I get to talk with my father,
there are three where he is asleep.

We all know what is coming. We
rarely say it aloud. Some things
are too big for small moments. We
know how to bring food or drinks,
cards and photos. We even exchange
more hugs than usual. I hold his hand

as I haven’t since I was tiny. Tree time,
insect time, human time, they all come
to the same end. But

were you loved, did you love? Who knows
if the tree, or insect wonders. But we do,
and for my father, it will probably be
the greatest mark of his time here. He loved
and is loved. Imperfectly, but fiercely.