An Observation of a Man

After a day of cutting down trees
A day of killing and breathing in wood
He goes to the Home Depot,
Ignores the Christmas trees lined up in the lot:
All he needs is a new chainsaw.
His wife asked him for a 12-pack of toilet paper,
Lightbulbs, the good kind,
And a few free paint sample cards because
She wants to remodel the first-floor bathroom,
Where the peeling paint falls on all the toothbrushes.
All his kids want is a Christmas Tree but
He leaves the store empty handed; they didn’t have
The chainsaw he wanted.

The gridlock in the city gets worse every year as
Cars stand still, waiting, just waiting, but
For what? Still he returns to his home,
Parks his car in an overpriced garage
And walks the streets of his youth:
He mourns the loss of his childhood,
And of the city that had once been a great one, but now
All the oxygen has been swallowed,
The happiness has disappeared and
The silhouette of time gone mocks him
From behind an invisible, murky curtain.
He returns with a distance in his eyes.   

His bones don’t carry him now in the way that they used to
Because he is an old
The cheerful lights of the Christmas tree cast ghastly onto an empty room:
An emptiness that will never not be.


I wrote this poem while observing a man who was hired to cut down my neighbor’s tree. He didn’t seem to be very good at what he was doing.

8 thoughts on “An Observation of a Man

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