Pioneer Tree Service,
father and son, their
roots carved deep,
strip the limbs
off my neighbor’s
fifty-foot cedars.

A parade of trees stand
naked and knotted,
their earthbound lines
of wrinkled bark
proud as drum majors
pointing to the sky.

Son wears suspenders,
a white hardhat,
and a whistle
around his neck
on a ribbon, red
as a stop sign, red
as blood.

He climbs to the top
of the un-carved totems.
His chainsaw cut is
blunt and straight.

Halfway across,
he removes the saw,
holds it parallel
to his chest
and cuts back
to the middle.

Sawdust drifts like snow
and frosts the green limbs
at the trees’ feet.

No still life, idyllic landscape,
or movie villains here, just
the artistry of Father and Son,
shaded by historic mislodgings.

Bare-handed, without malice
or remorse, Son shoves.
With a loving lover’s touch,

severed sections of trunk
thump to the earth,
pillowed by the limbs below.

by Betty Scott
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