Of the tree that shed a gigantic branch
flooding it with a shot of lymph
sucked up from the roots, causing it to burst
exploded by centrifugal pressure
I heard the sacrifice had been vain.
The tree had maimed herself, I was told
giving up a limb that caused trouble
its unbridled growth pushing her
out of balance
jeopardizing her structural strength.
The tree picked her most extravagant
arm, no matter how verdant, how glorious
and exquisitely wrought. Poof
she gave it a cut with surgical cool
although through a barbaric technique.
Push, push, push, crack, crack
hop, down you go.
Lighter now, more securely footed
we can breathe
whispered a few zillions leaves.
And yet, later, the foresters opted
for the tree’s removal
estimating her health (since she
self-medicated) at risk
and her stance precarious.
They abated her, then cleaned the grounds
of twigs, ribbons of bark, single tear of sap
an old nest that had teetered for weeks
at the edge of the broken fork
knowing not if it should remain or let go.
Toti O’Brien is the Italian Accordionist with the Irish Last Name. Born in Rome, living in Los Angeles, she is an artist, musician and dancer. She is also the author of Other Maidens (BlazeVOX, 2020), and An Alphabet of Birds (Moonrise Press, 2020).