Janice D. Soderling

Conversation with Myself

I keep wanting to apologize
to the spruce that was taken down yesterday,
taller than the house and unsuspecting.
And I tell myself, "It was only a tree,
for heaven's sake."

So I clear away cones and wood chips,
and think about you, because fall has come,
that season of quick turns and brilliance,
red days, dark nights.
So many regrets.

"I'm sorry," I say, to the sharp-needled scraps
as I toss them into the wheelbarrow, remembering
a sunny fall day when you danced the hora
around my kitchen table, snapping your fingers,
smiling like a happy ending.

That spruce fell heavy, squirrels and all,
but there were songbirds in your tree as well,
and in mine, and it hurts when beautiful things
grow in the wrong place and get taken down.
That includes spruce trees.