Poetry Post Poem: How to Uproot a Tree


How to Uproot a Tree
By Jennifer K. Sweeney

Stupidity helps.
Naiveté that your hands will undo 
what does perfectly without you. 
My husband and I made the decision 
not to stop until the task was done, 
the small anemic tree made room 
for something prettier. 
We’d pulled before, pale hand over wide hand, 
a marriage of pulling toward us what we wanted, 
pushing away what we did not. 
We had a shovel which was mostly for show. 
It was mostly our fingers tunneling the dirt 
toward a tangle of false beginnings. 
The roots were branched and bearded, 
some had spurs 
and one of them was wholly reptilian. 
They had been where we had not 
and held a knit gravity 
that was not in their will to let go. 
We bent the trunk to the ground and sat on it, 
twisted from all angles. 
How like ropes it was, 
the sickly thing asserting its will 
only now at the end, 
blind but beyond 
the idea of leaving the earth.