Lately I’m compelled to cut
any tree or shrub I can find that
needs me—pomegranate limbs
work well, and overzealous rosemary.
Because they don’t resist, but seem to listen
and tolerate the state of regret that
sticks to me like pitch from
a wounded tree.
Because cutting distracts me
from senseless mass shootings,
and shooting off at the mouth in late
night texting. I turn to trees and
shrubs because they’re willing
sheep I can control.
Because of war widows on my
Google feed who crawl and weep on
caskets marked with out-stretched flags.
And the windless flag at half-staff
by the VA downtown that’s limp
as homeless people who drag
garbage bags nearby.
Because of presidential lies,
and glacial ice that calves and cracks,
I trim and manicure. And because
my cancer was cured, but so
many others aren’t.
I cut because of lost civility
and the inability to stop hate
before it’s habit. And because
paradise is probably
lost on man.
I cut for all that.
Because I can.