Your trunks stand high yet narrow,
twiggy forms against the dark blue sky
with its paintbrush swipes of cloud
This spring you worked so extra hard
pushing forth those jagged edged leaves
of yours, from darkened wood,
hanging with the slightest pulse of sap.
Fellow siberians were completely done
with greening out before you really started,
weakened as you were by beetles and disease
Some had given up on you, yet some
strength remained beneath your bark
And once your leaves were out no one
would think how sickly you’d appeared
just two weeks before.
All summer you offered yourself,
your bark, your leaves, strong limbs,
your shade, anchoring roots and sap
From your apparent life
others drew your strength
into their own lives.
Hefty ravens, burly doves, tiny warblers,
flitting hummingbirds alike
found homes, a refuge, because
you stood there one more year
Today your hard born leaves
came shimmering down for hours
Pale in fall’s dark gold
Each leaf riddled through with holes
that merciless banded beetles made.
In this land of little shade it is a sadness
to lose such a one as you, even though
your species is reviled, invasive,
in August heat you are revered.
Your last brave stand is mourned,
my friend, you will be missed
in our dusty, desert world.