Me and Josie go to Agua Caliente park
and look at a giant mesquite tree
four times bigger than I’ve ever seen
sprawling with great old growth grotesquely gothic arms
spidering out like a nightmare.
It’s so big it would have died long ago
fallen from its own weight
and rotted into the ground
if people hadn’t built a support system
of ropes and chains and rubber hoses and hammocks
and crutches to hold up the biggest
most cumbersome branches.
There’s something obscene about it,
like a man grown so fat
he can’t get out of bed.
Josie tries to imagine something like this happening
in Mexico where she was born.
The American fondness for animals and trees
is a strange sentimental concept to her.
And I think, Why this tree
when so many thousands of other old growth mesquites
were slaughtered seventy five years ago
so people could move in and eventually
yearn for the past?
Me and Josie both wonder if it wouldn’t be better
to let it die
but we are not sure,
and so we just stand there looking at it
Mather Schneider, Arizona, USA