The Tree Agreement

The neighbor calls the Siberian Elm
a “weed” tree, demands we hack
it down, says the leaves overwhelm
his property, the square backyard.

He’s collar-and-tie. A weed tree?
Branches screen buildings, subway tracks,
his patch of yard. We disagree,
claim back the sap, heartwood, wild bark.

He declares the tree “hazardous.”
We shelter under leaf-hoard, crossway
for squirrels, branch house for sparrows, jays.
The balcony soaks up the shade.

Chatter-song drowns out cars below.
Sun branches down. Leaves overwhelm.
The tree will stay. We tell him “no.”
Root deep through pavement, Elm.

More Poems by Elise Paschen