I wrote this poem after reading Donald Revell’s The Art of Attention: A Poet’s Eye, a book which inspired me to try to write effortlessly, paying close attention to nature and to my own awareness. (Alas, I couldn’t help but revise this poem with much effort.) This poem is autobiographical, based on my regrettable procrastination in transplanting a young tree.
I let a maple sapling grow past June
underneath the porch’s flag pole.
By August its roots will snarl
our basement pipes and plumbing.
Squeezed between concrete and the junipers
and waving bug-tattered leaves,
the thin tree tilts out of shadows.
I hope there is some law against
allowing branches to touch the stripes
of a hanging flag. I almost want
my patriotic husband to call the city.
Then I will have no choice
but to sharpen the saw
and grapple with such liberty.
by Therese L. Broderick