Lopping Them Off

pruned branch weeping sap

Persimmons proclaim their youth
when bitterness puckers our jowls.
Few mature into sweetness.

The unskilled arborist prunes the branches,
partially severed, kerfs collapsing,
tearing bark from the trunk.

Decay enters into unclean cuts.
Stubs sprout suckers and obscure
the tree’s interior from sunlight.

At the tears he left, I daub pitch,
blackening the scars,
like tears running with mascara.

©2018 by Dale Easley

Dale Easley is a Professor of Environmental Science at the University of Dubuque. He has been a volunteer math teacher in Kenya, a volunteer working on water wells in Haiti, and a Fulbright Fellow in Qatar.

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