A Poem by Barbara Sheffer | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

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A Poem by Barbara Sheffer

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This was a blank sheet of paper. Four sides. Front and back. White. 8 ½ by 11. Unremarkable. Rippable. Scrunchable. Tearable. Terrible? Gosh, no. I hope not.

It used to be a tree, poor thing. What a step backward if it believed in Reincarnation.

Maybe it was a bad tree, though—a tree that would spitefully flick a nest of innocent baby robins from its branch—on a day without a whisper of wind. Now that is naughty.

Maybe it was the type of tree that grew its limbs waaaaaay way high—too high for children to climb on and too high for swings to be hung. No fun. Maybe it was a grumpy tree that did not like children. At all.

Maybe it was the type of tree that was so tough and gnarly that tree trimmers couldn’t even get their chainsaws through. Their saws would seize up and get caught mid cut. And need to go out for repairs. Expensive repairs.

Maybe it was a braggart, telling all the other trees within earshot that its ancestry can be traced back to the apple tree that Sir Isaac Newton sat under when he came up with his law of universal gravitation. And the tree would smugly sound out every single syllable in “un-i-ver-sal grav-it-a-tion” to make the other trees feel ignorant and bad. Insufferable.

I’m glad that tree got knocked down to size. Serves it right. It’s just a piece of paper now. Ha! A piece of paper that I have written all these words on. Ha! Not so smug now, huh, Mr. Tree. Mr. Lofty Powerful Shade-Maker Tree.

Or…maybe it’s just a piece of paper. Four sides. Front and back. White. 8 ½ by 11.


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