Angel Tree

Look, 

he said,

can’t you see?

Over there used to stand my Angel tree.

I know,

he said,

it’s just a stump now,

but if you saw it then you’d wonder how

something so beautiful, so proud, so strong

could ever come crashing to the ground.

 

I used to stand here,

he said,

as the sun would rise

high in the salmon coloured skies.

My hand on my son’s shoulder, I’d point to the top.

The tree kept going, it would never stop.

Branches arched up like feathered wings

basking in the joy a new day brings,

frozen in a state of permanent assent,

that tree,

he said,

was heaven sent.

 

My son never saw the same kind of beauty,

he said,

He’d stand and stare, as if it was his duty.

Soon he was tall enough to rest his chin on my head,

and by then in the mornings he’d rather be in bed.

I sat alone and looked at the tree,

oh, what to do with me?

A failure of a father, distanced from his son.

In spirit a thousand miles away, 

he said,

in fact, less than one.

 

He grew up to be a handsome young man,

all the young ladies in his hand.

I gave him all the money I had,

hoping he’d look forward to the future, 

instead,

he said,

it was squandered on a new set of wheels,

taking his friends for joy rides whenever he feels.

I’d watch,

he said,

from the curtains as down the drive way he’d rip

the branches of the Angel Tree would sway and dip.

As if trying to pull him out of a fate

I refused to see coming until it was too late.

 

It is a known fact,

He said,

that speed and girls

will make you feel like you own the world. 

Not on the brink of disaster,

pour another glass, drink it faster.

He stumbled out of the pub one night,

got into a car he thought was geared for flight,

five others piled in the back,

“Watch me go,” he said, “I’ll fly off the track!”

And fly he did, all the way home,

and as he came up the drive way, his wheels caught a stone.

Dawn was breaking, the sun coming up

I walked into the kitchen to fill my coffee cup

looking out the window to see,

my wonderful, beautiful Angel Tree

folded over top of what used to be my son

as if holding him, sheltering him from the damage done.

I ran outside, 

he said,

the gravel cut my soles.

I grabbed an axe and tried to pull

what life was behind

swearing through tears “I won’t let you die!”

 

I chopped down my beloved Angel Tree,

he said,

I’d have done so before,

he said,

if it brought my boy back to me.

I never would have planted that damned tree,

but unfortunately the future I cannot see

with these old eyes that saw only light,

not the clouds hidden from sight.

 

Look, 

he said, 

can’t you see?

over there used to stand my Angel tree

I know it’s just a stump now

but if you saw it then you’d wonder how

something so beautiful, so proud, so strong

could ever come crashing to the ground.

The End

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