For years the trees had no one
to look over them.

Rains followed by drought
followed by floods and other hardships

kept them alone in the cycle
of winter, spring, summer, fall.

Sometimes they shivered
while snow balanced on branches.

Cars drifted past, wide brims of light at night,
not even a glance, and the ground

was absorbed with its own issues
of sun or shade, rain or dew.

Finally from a nearby window came the faces
of two girls and their voices calling to the birds

who sang in the trees, the deer chewing leaves,
the rabbits and squirrels, Quiet, be quiet,

our mother’s sick and she’s sleeping.
Day after day their mother turned

toward the window—awakening.


Originally published in The Southern Review, Autumn 2015