How to Uproot a Tree

Jennifer K. Sweeney

 
Stupidity helps.
Naiveté that your hands will undo
what does perfectly without you.
My husband and I made the decision
not to stop until the task was done,
the small anemic tree made room
for something prettier.
We’d pulled before, pale hand over wide hand,
a marriage of pulling toward us what we wanted,
pushing away what we did not.
We had a shovel which was mostly for show.
It was mostly our fingers tunneling the dirt
toward a tangle of false beginnings.
The roots were branched and bearded,
some had spurs
and one of them was wholly reptilian.
They had been where we had not
and held a knit gravity
that was not in their will to let go.
We bent the trunk to the ground and sat on it,
twisted from all angles.
How like ropes it was,
the sickly thing asserting its will
only now at the end,
blind but beyond
the idea of leaving the earth.
 
Copyright © 2009 by Jennifer K. Sweeney. Reprinted from How to Live on Bread and Music, with the permission of Perugia Press, www.perugiapress.com, Florence, Massachusetts.

Poems by This Author

Fragments for the End of the Year by Jennifer K. Sweeney
On average, odd years have been the best for me
How to Make a Game of Waiting by Jennifer K. Sweeney
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In Flight by Jennifer K. Sweeney
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