Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tree Bites

tree bites

Tree Bites
Verses 1-3 (c) 2000
by Elizabeth Southwood,
Verse 4 (c) 2000
by her son Blake

A eucalyptus branch scared the
bejesus out of me on a sweaty summer day,
when it landed next to where I stood with a rush of
wind and its leaves rustling on dark soft earth.

This old thick tree has wind-peeled bark --
stiff curling strips that crunch underfoot.
Its lofty top sways fragrant
twilight-tinted leaves.
It hosts myriad hummingbirds,
an iridescent swirl of dazzling blues and greens.
They whiz around, up and down,
tasting tangerine geraniums and worrying my eyes
with their needle-sharp beaks and whirring thrums.

My son, topping the tree
among sighing leaves,
twice heard a living creature utter
“Unh-UNH-unh” after he drew a saw
through branches soft as butter.
He scrambled to the ground, a curious
look on his face.

His legs started itching
in three days.
The tree’s teeth
turned out to be at its base.
The tree’s teeth have a name.
My son scratched as he shouted,
“I’ll be ready for you next time!”

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