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Chinaberry Tree

GOODBYE, CHINABERRY TREE

In earlier times it had set her apart:
She was higher and lighter and free;
When hurts had assailed her, right out of her heart
She had whispered them all to the tree.
Now old scarred bark scraped at her twiggy thin legs
And scratched slender arms as she climbed;
The world had crashed down from old insecure pegs,
It's fall so alarmingly timed!

All that was left her where longing met grief
In the yard were the arms of the tree;
It if could afford her a moment's relief
It would be all she asked it to be;
Breaking her heart, grief was all she could bring
To this relic of innocent days;
"Never," it whispered, "Again will you string
My sweet purple blooms into leis."

Slim as a berry-stem, suddenly bent
To breaking, some part of her lost,
She had seen in the graveyard an awful portent
And knew what that vision would cost.
Here she could own every truth of this day:
Mama, sweet Mama was gone;
Without any warning she drifted away,
Leaving them all, all alone.

Relatives eating a ritual meal;
Hushed neighbors serving a plate;
Astonished small children shocked into a feel
of dismay at this motherless state;
Acid-drawn etchings of what had to be,
After the wishing was past,
Complete in her now; she could weep with the tree,
Sharing her burden at last.

Two things most impotent under the skies
Are old Chinaberries and tears
Falling from old trees and little girl eyes
Down a brief childhood of years.
"Goodbye, Chinaberry tree." Slowly uncurled,
She dropped to the cold earth below;
With one last caress, she turned out to a world
Where trees such as this do not grow.

Joan Geiger 8-29-90

Too long, but I haven't been able to alter it, try as I may. I think it will stay this way.