AUTHOR DRAWS A BLANK, RESORTS TO FREE VERSE

A LIVE-OAK, BY THE GARAGE

I was sitting outside, my truck was in bay #2
The live oak’s shadow cooled my concrete perch
and the asphalt driveway across which
the owner walked towards me with the news.

As the shock wore off, we spoke of the oak’s reach
Resurrection fern, like rough hair on a dockworker’s arms,
looked down for the count; dead, this time for real.
“You see those cables? They keep the branches from breaking.
It’s 300 years old, and a heritage tree is good for a tax saving”.

I said that was good, trees make fine neighbors.
He looked at me. “Indeed, and you see those cables there?
I like to see this tree as us, a nation strong and spreading
But we get weaker, growing on our own, and we need the support of the Lord”.

Agnostic politeness tempered my reply, and he was fixing my truck.
“I see that. A good analogy.” But he seemed suddenly shy, abashed at his
clumsy sermon (no flair 5.5), and excused himself back to work.
I give points for originality. True, he was none too slick. (say, Eight point six)

So I lay back, awaiting my repair, and studied on that tree.
Those long branches are prone to break, would-be victims of gravity.
The cables had their place, on that he and I saw eye to eye.
They stretched from branch to branch, used the parts to help the whole.
The bigger truth, as I saw it, is not the proof of benign divinity.
It’s a case of mutual dependency.

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