The Spade

He passes his hand behind a translucent leaf.

Runs it along the trunk of the tree.

It leans to the left.

Its root ball is wrapped.

One quarter buried if that.

He has seen uprooted trees.

Indeed, he has seen too many.

They fight their fall.

Burrow deep.



Will not let go.

Even as the headwinds grow.

But, sooner or later.

Gravity calls.

Their roots break.

They reach out to others.

Try to halt their fall.

Branches snap.

They collapse.

The canopy cracks.

The forest floor peels back.



They lie prostrate.

Rot away.

Make space for what’s next.

In this forest.


Next never arrives.

Another headstone of dirt and roots.

Memorializing the First Forest.

Is just added to the cemetery.

Yet, this tree is different.

Those were endings.

This is an interrupted beginning.

Work was started.

Then aborted.

This tree was raised.

In some other place.

Its root ball excavated.

Rounded and wrapped.

This tree is not native.

It is neither wild.

Nor spontaneous.

It was planted.

With a purpose.

It has a task.

He does too.

He grabs it by the root ball.


Grits his teeth.

His torn horn begins to bleed.

This will not be easy.

Nor should it be.

He needs some kind of implement.

A stick.

Something to dig with.

He sees what he needs.

On the other side of the tree.

It is stabbed into the dirt.

He rocks it back and forth.

Yanks it free.

Exposure to the elements.

Have encased it in rust and sediment.

He strikes it against the rock face.

Decades of disuse blast away.


A squared off blade.

It is a spade.

Every being has a task.

Every task has a tool.

His task brings them together.

He grips the handle.



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