by Tina Mozelle Braziel
never fruits. Yet each March blossoms burst
along every branch raised over our neighbors’
bed of daffodils and glinting windmill art.
Its pale petals screen dark limbs, a bridal veil
drawing attention to what’s obscured.
Alive and flowering, it’s unlike the windthrows
or widow-makers Nick usually offers us to cut
and haul to our woodpile. Generous to a fault,
he grins as if we’re doing him the favor.
He says it has been pretty and still is. Tells us
they planted it on their wedding day. But now
that Judy says it’s invasive, it has to go.
Married four years to their twenty, what do we know
of when to hew and root out a beginning,
of how to save all that has been cultivated since?
We know oak burns steady. Dogwood catches quick.
Sweetgum is nearly impossible to split. Poplar
puts out too little heat. And flowering pear?
What else can we say? But that we need fire
and wood to feed it. We’ll haul it home,
fill our stove, learn something of how it burns.