Last year we planted a second plum tree
in the same place
and hoped you’d do better.
Italian this time

you’d offer fruit
like the neighbors said.
It’d been a favorite
jarred and jammed
pits tossed and soon
they’d bred an orchard.

But your leaves curled
and I consulted Google
to learn who takes you down
—the plum tree aphid.

It was the week
of Uvaldi, Texas
where guns took children
when I sat waiting
in the car out front

and after dinner
I went out back
and warred
hose on fire

water torrent—but you’d already
made this yours
more than mere turf
you took our tree
before it could
offer fruit.

Debra Wöhrmann explores joy and sorrow, grief and ecstasy through poetry and fiction and leads workshops inviting others to write. She lives with her partner and dog in Portland, Oregon and loves to lose herself in her backyard garden, along the coast and in lush forest.