Removal
                                      This isn’t about the live oak
outside my apartment that begins
to slowly disappear one morning. 
 
                                      This isn’t about the collection
of tanned men who had chainsaws and a compact 
front end loader. Hanging by rope and rooftop,
they start at the top, put down arms
this wood octopus had spread over and between
brick buildings, as if someday it could push
itself free of the soil. 
 
                                      This isn’t about the loud thuds
severed branches make on my porch roof 
or the right balance between swearing and work. 
 
                                      This isn’t about the workman, who hangs
from the tree’s remaining branches,
uses them as pulleys to let down sections slowly. 
His silent chainsaw dangles from his belt,
the way someone might let keys dangle.
 
                                      This isn’t about the front-end loader’s scoop
or its two metal fingers that close on tree limbs.
This is not about its struggle in the mud,
leaves, and sawdust, or the way it tears up
now superfluous tree roots, the same roots I tripped
over late one Friday night, tearing ankle ligaments
on the way home from your house. 
 
                                      This isn’t about the stump grinder that overheats
every hour, a few tacit minutes suggests something of the tree might remain,
before the cacophonous removal continues. 
 
                                      No, this is about the new blank 
blue sky, I glare at dazed, through porch windows.
It spreads sunsets over rooftops in slow procession. 
It’s about how a late afternoon thunderstorm fills
mud tracks that say something big came and took it all away. 
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