Xylophobia

My friend says she can’t understand why Midwesterners hate trees,
cutting down the twenty-year spruce, the century oak
or, failing that, to unlimb them, like the Melos Aphrodite.

My wife is likewise vehement on the subject.
Our municipal electric company hacks away branches
anywhere close to their wires, with all the abandon
of reckless hormone-inflamed teenagers at drive-ins.
Bugs infest open scars, hastening the process:
First leaves wither, then woodpeckers riddle, then deadfalls.

Is it our trans-Alleghenian cultural memory,
our forebears fearful of Red Men resentfully watching
hidden by pampas grass and that forest primeval?
Or is our haunted sleep tormented by nightmares
peopled by fur-bearing predators—feral dusk-stalkers,
bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, sharp-toothed, merciless of claw?

Here in our tracts suburban, our lawns blare daytime
fanfares to civilized sightlines. But over the back fence,
trickster Coyote still howls by night in the dark woods.

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