Two dozen fifty-year-old,
heavy-bosomed maple trees
shaded my childhood home,
heaping coolness across our yard.
The leafy giants lined Kent Street
with their arc of shelter and shade.
Each maple grew taller, thicker with age
big enough to hide behind for
Red Light, Green Light on a summer night.
In autumn they draped yellow light over us
before dropping heaps of leaves for jumping.
Under a plot of progress with rising traffic,
a widened street was planned,
the trees slated to go —
my enraged mother gathered signatures
spoke out at city hall, wrote letters
to the editor: save our half-centenarians.
Sadly, the city architects of progress won.
Father, with his movie camera,
filmed that day when bulldozers arrived,
to yank out each maple like a giant tooth,
huge roots exposed, lying on their sides,
our mouths gaping at the extraction.
Annette Langlois Grunseth, received the 2022 Hal Gruetzmacher Poetry Prize, a Gold Medal for Combat and Campus:Writing Through War, and was a Pushcart Prize nominee for Becoming Trans-Parent She has published two books and enjoys riding bike trails, kayaking, and camping. Learn more at www.annettegrunseth.com.