Friday, September 4, 2009

Bert Sacks

Bert Sacks

Mid-life, without fanfare or fuss,
as though it were commonplace,
he traded his engineering career
to become a tree,
and spreading his limbs
found he could span the globe,
Seattle to Basra.

Citing obscure agricultural ordinances,
travel restrictions,
and traditional pest control policies,
federal government threatened
to cut him down.
They cordoned off the space
around him
and gunned their chain saws.
In response, he summoned wisteria
and wild roses
to climb his trunk
orchids to hang from his limbs,
endangered species to nest
in his branches.

Editors, journalists, and members
of Congress sip coffee in the shade
of his ample arbor.
A steady shower of words
like infinite leaves falls upon them,
configurations of leaves
like runes directing them
to Baghdad, to Basra.

Iraqi children,
healthy or ill,
move in his branches,
climb on vines,
clothe themselves in flowers.

David Smith-Ferri


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