TREES in the YARD
At Grandpa’s twenty-acre plot we hailed
the Spanish moss-hung oaks as playing monsters.
They sucked up and burped back the bodies of
my brothers and me while elsewhere tractors droned.
We hung and swung and kicked and carved and laughed
but never could quite reach their brows, except
with our eyes, on approaching, from the road.
My parents’ acre’s elms, along the back,
a row of regal sentries, high and thick
enough for shade and hammocks, told where our
plot ended and that neighbor’s lands began.
Beneath them we told stories round a fire
and sometimes they would shiver in response,
often to great narrative effect!
My own plot is a sixth. A rather short
and portly maple’s risen by the fence
in a premature seniority. But he
can grow no more without risking infraction.
So I become his barber once a year.
No limbs reach down to scoop, nor could support
my weight, but, middle-aged, we seem to pat
each other’s shoulders every now and then.
James B. Nicola has been or will be published in a score of
journals including The Cortland Review, MacGuffin,
Illuminations, Nimrod, Iron Horse, and Dana Literary Review
(award winner). A stage director by profession, he has won a
CHOICE Award for his book Playing the Audience.