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Two trees

Here’s a poem for you. Only I haven’t written it yet.

It’s about those two trees that we see every day. Side-by-side sycamores, standing tall. Solidly together, out on their own. Do you see where this is going, on this particular day in February?

Our trees must have sprung up together, about forty years ago, when a pair of samaras twisted their keys into the ground and were lucky enough to unlock life. Now they’re two that seem as one, a single crown curving into the air, perfectly trimmed by the wind’s natural topiary.

In the summer, their big-bellied swags of leaves keep out the sky, standing proud and expansive as an ancient elm. In the autumn, their sticky leaves turn and drop, suddenly. But they fascinate us most in winter: seeing them like iron sconces with the coral sunrise burning through. Their wine glass shape etched with frost.

like iron sconces with the coral sunrise burning through

They’re together, but not conjoined. Did you know trees can do that? Their branches touch, it abrades the bark, and their tissues become connected. Inosculation, it’s called. You’re right, a hell of word to lever into a poem. Though I could say something clever about how it’s caused by friction, and how these weird self-grafters are known as husband-and-wife trees. No, too obvious.

Our trees, our special trees, are independent but together. It’s impossible to imagine one being felled, or blown over in a storm. How could one of those strong trunks crash down, leaving its roots helplessly exposed? The remaining tree would stand like a building cracked open by an earthquake, lop-sided, unprotected. No, they must stand together. Our trees.

So I’ll write the poem for you next year. The trees will still be growing then, after all.

© Laura Parker


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