Why do I remember how elm trees
died along the avenues in Madison?
Blighted. Some disease. Blame
the Dutch? Really? What an honor
to be remembered so unkindly
as killers of trees. Not for your
wooden shoes, dykes, or creaking
windmills. Not for colored tulip
grids, a vibrant painter’s palette
grown to load up and swath your
canvass washed so brightly. Why
still see those dying and dead trees?
Think scary nights, starless, with
spindled shadows showing only
no color at all, a veined coal mass
of midnight paint-brushed under
no moon, going swoosh across
the canvas, mix of old, black water
where even the snow’s all gloomy
blumps bracing up brittle tree spines
that will never bloom those spring
soft buds, leaves greening new again.
Why of all things remember these?

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