When the black birch tree
in the back yard died
(or perhaps the year after it died),
the treeman asked me what I wanted to do.
He was here to estimate the cost
of treework, pruning some oaks,
cutting away dead branches, etc.
We had already decided to try
to save the ash tree in front
rather than cut it down
as its companion had been.
I thought about it for a little while
and then said, “No, don’t take it down.
Let it stand there as it is.”
“But it will fall anyway, branch
by branch, twig by twig.
You’ll be cleaning up out here often.”
“That’s all right,” I said.
“Let it stand. The birds will use it.”
“And the insects,” the treeman added.
And the birds have used it,
as have the insects. I, too, in my way,
picking up branch and twig, branch and twig.