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Apple Tree

by Lionel E. Deimel


Halloween a fortnight hence,

I mow the grass beneath the leaves of my neighbor’s oak trees

And of my apple tree that was old when we bought the house thirteen years ago.

Over the years, I have worried about that apple tree.

It carries the scars of branches rotted or broken off—

One containing cement that no longer extends from edge to edge,

Later scars left to heal naturally, according to the current fashion.

The tree is not a tree-house tree,

But a perfect tree for a swing and bird feeder,

With its powerful horizontal branch that parallels the house at just the right height.

A swing hung from that branch was an early home improvement,

As was the bird feeder a bit farther out.

The swing was for my son, though I may have used it more than he.

I surely mowed and raked around it more than he ever did.

I am mowing the grass for the last time now,

As the “For Sale” sign will soon bring a new owner here,

A new family to enjoy the apples in the fall

And accept the never-ending task of raking the neighbors’ oak leaves.

I will miss the yard and the tree and the birds,

Even though I seemed to spend more time raking and mowing

Than ever I did looking or swinging or enjoying.

I will miss the apple tree

And forever lament that I did not enjoy it more. 


This poem was begun more than a year ago. I don’t remember everything I wanted to say then, and I haven’t said everything I want to say now. I miss the apple tree. (Completed 10/24/2001.)

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