Tree Trimming

I slice my forearm open

On another dead branch;

Trimming this tree

Is no easy task.

In the years since last it was cut back

(eight at least),

Branches have died

And the new grown up around them,

Strong and curved and

Skillfully intertwined,

They bring to mind

Arms and legs and sweat

And heavenly cold sheets.

I trace branches back down

And around,

Trying to decide

How much to cut.

My loppers hover over

What looks to be

A long-dead limb,

But

When I follow it

To the very end,

I find green leaves.

Other branches break off in my hand,

Or at the touch of a finger.

Others still require the saw,

And this one had to be slowly pulled free

After sawing

Lest it overturn the robin’s nest;

A slow Jenga move.

All the while I work,

The angry cut stings me

Just enough

To remind me

This limb still lives.

I hope next year

I’m not so busy

Chasing quick fixes

That I forget to fill the house

With lilac perfume

While I can.

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