These are the little suckers

                                                who eat up all our trees

                                                within a bald inch

                                                of their lives every spring


                                                as if they owned the natural

                                                world—which they

                                                do for a time—monarchs


                                                of their own green

                                                kingdom high above the floor

                                                of pine-strawed shrubs

                                                only partially attended

                                                by the hand of man.


                                                Females are the worst.

                                                They can lay their five hundred

                                                eggs in a toast to fertility

                                                hardly any males can match.


                                                I must say, I admire

                                                their hunger, their thumbing

                                                at the world of chance

                                                undaunted by any odds,

                                                relentless as the best of generals.


                                                Whole neighborhoods can be

                                                devoured—discreet, leafy streets

                                                delight the most, it seems,

                                                and owners there strain out

                                                their bands and sprays

                                                with furrowed brows like mice.


                                                What drama plays out

                                                each year and has us all

                                                unnerved and poorer,


                                                what power the minuscule

                                                maintain over the big, those

                                                with cell phones, designer jeans,

                                                after-school appointments

                                                and date-books full of

                                                important networking events.


                                                It’s a torment to hate

                                                these illegal immigrants,

                                                who only want to make a living

                                                at our expense and never got

                                                any papers or permission

                                                or even the silver greetings

                                                of trees about to lose their grace.                                   



                                                                                        ―David Radavich





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