They are not the disparacidos,
Whisked away, no trace of killing,
But hulks, rain whipped skeletons
Left on our driveways,
Sawdust innards spilled on grass.

They did not go easy, yielding up
Their spirits as do those who merely
Pass away. They were wrenched
From the earth, torn roots
Like ripped ligaments
Snapped, branches broken
Like limbs in a civil war.

When their time came, they resisted,
Warriors in a struggle of equals,
Wind force pitted against tree strength.
They died heroically, swaying
Bracing before yielding to ice,
To wind, to root rot.

We did not gather them up gently,
Electra gathering the limp body of Orestes,
But slew them where they lay,
Hacking their bodies with handsaws,
Crude instruments turning trunks I
Into carcasses.

Now I walk by empty holes
Where the fir trees stood,
See pines upended
Roots raw to the wind.
Instead of shade, a rough place
For sun to scorch in July,
An empty place where no maple leaves
Will fall in October, November.
The survivors brace for winter
When the next wind storms
Blast the forest once again

Judith Amber is a free-lance writer (poetry, creative non-fiction) on California’s Central Coast. She is published in Chest Magazine (poetry) Tolosa Press (creative non-fiction, short story), Talus and Scree, Jewish Currents Magazine and Fishtrap Anthology. She won second place in Arts Obispo’s Ingrid Reti Literary Awards for a personal essay.