You said you cried as they cut down the tree
in our backyard, the one Sam liked to climb,
the one stretching up into the wires overhead.
But the arborist told us there was no use
in trimming this kind of tree – it would only grow
faster in the direction of its brokenness. So they came
early in the morning with their chainsaws and
their ladders and their chipper, dismantling the branches
first, then working top to bottom until there was only a
so small it is not even worth standing on.
And I think about how there have been things in our
life we tried to save, trimming them back, only to find
we, too, grow faster in the direction of our
It is a sore lesson to learn,
this idea that sometimes a thing
must be taken all the way down to its stump.
I think about this in our dark room, in the middle
of the night, Abra on the floor beside our bed, her
breathing labored, asthmatic. I think about this
while listening to the fan in Leo’s room, the one that drowns
out the noise. I think about this while lying on
our old mattress, the one with the valley in the middle,
another broken thing, but one that draws us