until a name
and all its connotation are the same.
—Elizabeth Bishop, “Four Poems: I/Conversation”
The Christmas trees are to be mulched.
They have been stripped of lights and the green needles
that once pinned up the lights are now a dusky green.
The cones of needles no longer aim at the sky
in a hundred rooms. In the park, left in a pile,
looking like the skeletons of umbrellas,
with bits of green cloth still attached to the ribs,
the trees point their tips in the same but useless direction.
In the other direction,
the trunks thicken grudgingly to a thickness surprisingly small,
the girth of a man’s arm.
Instead of a star, the yellow stumps,
once earthed, once potted with earth,
now show a streaky, fibrous yellow, with small faint rings,
pale against all that dark wood,
a low constellation.