Requiem for a Silver Maple

Robert_bio_photo_1___version_3__1_by Robert L. Ferrier15 Sep 2014

The harbinger arrives at first light
built like a lanky whippet
carrying his rope and chainsaw.

Not wasting a glance at the wound—
a bolt that split the base
leaving it open for decades—

he loops a high branch and climbs
as an acrobat pulls to his launch
his saw a glint in dappled light.

Then a diesel’s throaty purr
a crane truck’s praying
mantis arm

reaching across our roof
a benediction of steel cable
snaking out a swaying pendulum

with a grapple hook head
that spooks a squirrel
and mutes a mocking bird.

The climber first lops high limbs
green raining through green.
He works toward the center and down

erasing textures of time.
Painting a sky bald in its heat

propped in a high crook, he rests

lighting up with easy grace
the smoke a scrim in the green
then lost like an afterthought of wind.

Having done with hands and fingers
he sinks heavy teeth in green arms
to be lifted and swayed by the grapple

tracing ugly rainbows across
our roof toward the stench and
rumble of a wood chipper truck.

I watch years fly past overhead
that bend where our daughter climbed
the new young tree that tried to grow

in the core where the lightning struck.
By dusk they’d left a stump
archeology of that remembered.