Willow Tree

Willow TreeStanding outside the front doorof a house my parents used to ownis a willow tree still standing guardrepresenting the law as we knew it.Once I ran down the blockto get out of reach of one of its limbsI heard my mother yellI’ll see you come around againtake the first strikesbe a manlike Ali with with Foremanstand in therethe pain subsidesthe terror does tooall absorbed by a willow treethat must be black by now at its roots.The screen doors slammedthe windows brokeracing around in chaotic circlesburr headed children in full throated routesboth hands out in front of themsomehow uncut by the glassstuff a book down the back of your pantsand it will give off a hollow sound.A three bedroom housea thousand square feetwith eight kids repeateight kidswhat kind of peoplecan raise eight kids.It’s the number of infinity darlinfour boys and four girlsA perfect balance at leastuntil that Estrogen thingtipped the scales.If there were ever a living breathing family treeI would say the willow was oursfor it bent without breaking numerous timesI don’t know if anyone carved their names into itbut through the hole in the hedgeyou might buy just a second enoughto duck out of sight before realization set inand someone was breaking off a limb for you.Chaos breeds anarchybut fear at the end of the daybeats respect in a pinchsilence fell upon the roomand the blue light danced against the living room curtainsand I watched from my bedroom doorwhile Ed Sullivan shewedor Hee Haw frollicked in the cornfield.It’s been twenty five yearssince I called it my home that townthirty eight since we moved out of that houseand the pity is I’ve often gone therelooking for something closeto the accident that was created there.That willow tree I’ve never forgottenthose people I’ve never forgottenand though its roots are black I’m sureyou couldn’t kill it now even if you wanted.

Willow Tree

bill bell

Everett, United States

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