Last year an army
of caterpillars ravished our woods,
their tent cities everywhere,
and Japanese beetles
in their newly-plated armor came
for the roses, even as we watched.
Now, riddled with mold
the dogwoods fade out, leaf by heart
shaped leaf. I remember
the stories of Dutch elms withdrawing
their prodigal gifts of shade.
I remember the seventeen-year locusts,
how we walked, umbrellas raised against
their bodies raining down on us;
how they unravelled the poplars,
one stitch at a time.
Though the earth may comfort us
on her voluminous lap, giving
with one flower-filled hand
as she takes away with the other,
I will mourn these milky brides
betrothed to spring, still standing lithe
as girl gymnasts on the grass,
here at the edge of winter.