Emerald Ash Borers Branch out from Ash Trees

The emerald ash borer considers its options,
now that it has eaten all the ash trees, or
they have been preemptively cut down, burned,
a funeral pyre for all the emerald ash borers
still left within. The emerald ash borer never
thought it would have to start over like this
in midlife, develop a taste for something called
a fringe tree, which it never noticed before,
so enmeshed was it in boring through ash. But
as it turns out, fringe trees taste pretty good,
all things considered, and the emerald ash borer
thinks it could easily complete its life cycle
within one, if it came down to that–which it
very well may. But this will not really affect
the forest diversity in New Jersey
, says
an entomologist, with confidence. After all,
the emerald ash borer would never target
forsythias or lilacs, those shrubs not having
enough meat on the bones, so to speak.
Looking back, the emerald ash borer has no
regrets about how it’s made its living–it can
only move forward, finding new trees to girdle
with its larvae, another generation to find
its way somehow, as we all must. As we all do.

For the PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day 9. Prompt: A poem inspired by a news story. Here’s the one I used.



Whatever else happened between the leaves
or in the hammock, Louise was not about
to stick around to find out. Norman told her
to come for a walk, so that’s what she did,
meeting him in the shade of the hornbeam
tree, admiring its catkins. She always liked it
when a man knew trees: Not just, Meet me
under that big, round shade tree
, but
Meet me under the hornbeam. Maybe
Meet me under the hornbeam, Dear
would be better. But there was time
enough for that, she thought, more than
enough evenings left in June, More
than enough Junes left for all that



I find my voice.
I won’t have this anymore.
You call me junky tree,
scrub tree. You plot
my death. I came

without invitation
because I didn’t
need one. This was
years before you.

This was in
the time of ferns.

Tell me it was not.
Tell me if I’m lying.
Ask your children

to show you their
tongues. Are they not
purple? Secretly, secretly,
they pick up my fruit.

As do squirrels,
as do birds,
and butterflies
sip there, too.

And now I am
not welcome.
And now I hear
many curses

as I make wine
on the sidewalk—
and you, you walk
through it without
even stopping
to drink.





If it’s Tuesday p.m., it’s Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. Check it out!



God was in the hush under
the soft-needled pine tree that
reaches out over the sidewalk
and is now freighted with snow,
late-winter snow, wet and heavy.
Stop, I told my son. Look up.
Isn’t it quiet? Do you feel it?

But then a man, whose
irritated presence I had not
felt, appeared beside us
and then in front, having seen
that we and our grocery cart
were not going to step aside,
let him pass without

having to step into the street,
or a high drift, spilling snow down
inside his boots. Then I was
a spiritual dilettante, an oblivious
seeker of capital-E Experiences,
and everything was complicated
again, not simple after all.



For Open Link Night at dVerse Poets.