Poplars are like grandmothers.
They look so grand
they could fill the sky.
Their greenish bark
has crags and nodules.
Blowsy, leafy,
they drop white bits of fluff
but the ground beneath
feels comfortable.

Some poplars stand tall.
Others lean in pain
but do not complain
except to groan at night.

They stand shimmering
in summer heat
watching you play.
They know more about you
than you think.
Insects buzz and whirr
in their branches.
You cannot discern their thoughts.
They've seen things
you'll never know.

Poplars may even have offspring
you don't know about
who turn up unexpectedly.

The poplars have been around
longer than some other trees.
Sometimes all their bark falls off
yet they look the same.
You think they'll never die.
You don't want them to die
but poplars may be the first to go.

They might fall in the lake
and leave a tree-shaped hole.
Even then it feels
like part of you is gone
—not them.
Or they might
keep standing, bony ghosts.
Birds nest in their crevices.
Until you realize
they have outlived you.

back to issue