“A draft brings sway to
Brittle leaves,
Curled limbs of gray
Death-dancing in its light breath:
Ribs exposed, an umbrella
Broken reaching for the canopy.

Small buds glistened once on
Delicate supple fingers
Cavorting with the green and red surround:
The whisper of life-
Shuffling, striving for the
Blue-polished sky.

Winter seized the playful boughs
Too sudden to elude
Too swift to understand:
The hollow, from tip
To root, dancing now with
The memory of life.”

K Mankin, “On a Dead Tree”:

Yesterday, arborists removed the sweet Japanese Maple from beneath my study window. This poem is about the illusion of permanence.