My neighbor says I must cut down my tree.

She dislikes vegetation.


Her backyard, coated with orange pebbles,

Shimmers with an icy pool.


Who could resent a leafy mesquite’s shade?

But she says


The evil little yellow flowers

Litter the yard, clog the pool drain


The roots push up the earth,

Split the patio brick


Unsettle her as if

In the throes of an earthquake.


The return of the repressed (I say)

The mesquite doing the dirty work


Of human psyches everywhere, metaphorically

Refusing stillness


Until we chop it down.


What is a metaphor

If not a way of disappearing


To see and unsee

The porch light, the bird out by the fence


The book’s turning pages?

(If not a way of thwarting


The long oblivious darkness

Our words fall into?)


Even my busy, glorious

Mesquite, reviled and loved


Will eventually vanish, I assure her.

One day the earth will bear an empty shine


And spin a little more lopsidedly

Without the trees and us.