Cry of the River Birch

I pass it each day on my walk,

the lone river birch planted in the slender strip of grass

between street and sidewalk.

Too close to the walkway, its branches threaten my face

so I move to the furthest edge

to avoid being poked in the eye.

But I don’t mind. Living things need space to grow.

We give a little here and there

to live peaceably, to coexist.

One morning, I see a branch has been broken,

snapped so it no longer reaches the sidewalk.

A threat removed.

In saving ourselves, we hurt others.

And I wonder, is it worth the cost,

This price of fear?

The birch now bare as if crying its loss,

tearful dew falling from the broken limb.

A tear I match with my own.

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