Before it was over, a small crowd
of neighbors had gathered, drawn by
the sounds of saws and a machine chomping
branches and spewing chips into a truck.
Aroma of cedar cleaned the air. The machine
labored with the thickest logs, wood of the gods,
the man next door called it. Two cedars
had graced the northern side of our house
but grew so tall that branches hung over
the roof and moss grew on shingles.
What a shame, someone said, they have
to go. Another said that mourning doves
like to nest in tall trees. Two hours
and the job was done, only flat stumps
left at ground level. Neighbors
drifted away. Some said the house looked
bigger with the trees gone, some said smaller.
While I swept the driveway, several doves
flew over the house roof and rounded
the corner to land in cedars. They cried out in
empty space, flew clumsily toward each other,
then away. Soon they came around the house again
and flew in circles where branches used to be,
last seen flying over the church’s belfry.
Sandra Marshburn’s poems have appeared in various journals and five chapbooks, the most recent, Tales of Water, from Prolific Press.