Do you remember that tree outside of our first grade classroom?
That tree was enormous
It was the color of a dusty elephant
But with flakey skin
You could pick it off and crunch
In the palm of your hand
It must have been dead
Long before it was ours
Never any bugs
Nothing to stop five-year-olds
From laying in its roots
It grew into a “Y” before it died
Split about seven feet off the ground
Perfect for a first imaginary fort
A manhunt hiding spot or a goal post
For recess super bowls
I can remember it
With us sitting beneath it
At five, at eight, at twelve
Picking blades of grass
To whistle between our thumbs
They mulched that tree years ago
It’s chopped and spread under the new playground
Keeping kids safe from falls
If only we could have explained
How much it protected when it still stood…
I want to make an icicle
From rain drops
That have fallen for miles,
With linings of every color,
Just to crash like cars
On old shingles
Gritty and grooved with age.
Those drops would converge
As they weave their way down
A maze of gables and smoking vents
Finally to pool in rusty gutters,
That have not been cleaned out in years.
It’s cold in December, and windy in Manhattan.
Now All I need is discipline.
I must overflow,
Forming my icicle like a tooth
Slowly, and from the inside out
It’s no longer mine.
My hope is that it hits,
Through hair, flesh and bone,
An unsuspecting mind.
Instantly frozen and rearranged.
Or if not hit
Shatter close enough to move
Those that crowd below.