issue 25 > poetry > raffel
At My Age of Eighty-Fourby Burton Raffel
This was a tree we bought in Denver,
a two-foot plant stuck in a plastic pail.
Ten years I had to keep it trimmed,
but when we moved a thousand miles away
the potted tree went with us. We moved again,
and took it along. We moved once more and took it,
and soon we moved a good two thousand miles
along with our tree in its little plastic home.
But twenty years still in its pail
my tree decided this was the end, it knew
it would never be left to grow, and had
to die. Now we wouldn't be moving,
so I carried it out, and dug it a hole,
and gave it water day after day
-- and now, after two years, my tree
is twelve feet high and sprouting all over.
All its old leaves are gone, it's growing
grown-up just as it always wanted,
but it accepted my change of its mind,
as I had decided to keep my life,
hoping for more. My tree and I
will go on growing, provided
no one stops us. Anyway,
they won't be coming after my tree.