Backyard lined with dying trees,
The lifeblood sucked out, devoured
By the bronze birch borer disease.
The leaves don’t come
Anymore and the shade they cast
Is no longer the blue cooling canopy;
Stick-like slashes of black
Hatchings across the grass.
The storms come, strong winds
Snap the distressed branches.
I am left to fetch fallen
Fragments, pieces, alone, the next day.
Piles and piles of rotted brokenness
Stacked to dry out in future suns;
Kindling for an indeterminate blaze.
Now is the time to thicken your bark,
Reinforce the shields that have thinned.
You can’t afford to look away or yield;
Even the smallest things can get under your skin.