Elms on Death Row

Denise Hill

Three trees stand solemnly
in a row just as planted
nearly one hundred years ago

Each tendril root
tapped deeply into place
somnolently holding to earth

Craggy rough bark
like aged hands so many
life stories harbored there

Each now marked: a bright red dot
some roughshod city worker
sprayed just doing his job

Their days are numbered
soon hewn to stumps
then those ground flush

I place my hand on one
breathe in breath out
say “Thank you”

then the next: Thank you.
then the next: Thank you.

Lest they go from this world
unappreciated for all
they have provided.

Thank you.

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