Monday, March 14, 2011

Mint and Rhododendrons

Standing in the lawn,
a cup of hot coffee in his hands,
warm Spring sun on the back of his neck,
he looked at the dead rhododendron
sandwiched between two of its kin.
He was’t sure what had sickened the tall plant,
"Did I kill you spreading cedar chips
around your base,
their improper pH soaking into the ground,
poisoning you?" he asked, sipping his coffee.

But it no longer mattered.
The two adjacent trees were bursting with new growth,
this one a pale, spindly specimen,
a handful of leaves weakly protesting
“Not dead yet! Not dead yet!”
“Shut up!” he growled, thinking
"I’m finishing the job, today,
the chainsaw is gassed, ready,
the cutting chain filed and oiled."

If he has vision it is to see
growth in barren spaces.
Mint, he decides.
Spreading, pernicious take-everything-over mint.
Something that can be ignored
and if it grows too full of itself,
hack it mercilessly away
without any fear of killing it all.

Ignoring the pleas of the yellowing leaves
that life still remained
he perched his cup on the deck railing
and reached for the chainsaw
to jerk it into life
and deliver the finality of death.
I wonder what the other two
will think of mint, he wondered,
noting their vibrant Spring green leaves
seemed to have nothing to say.