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
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.