So this is Sunday evening 
under the live oak behind the kitchen 
where the Rose of Sharon 
spills purple tea onto the grass, 
the yellow bells sound yellow alarms 
from tall stalks, and the sunflowers peep
over the fence into the street
where car tires lap at the pavement
and walkers and joggers and dogs and strollers
pass. Our weeping
persimmon makes a small room
under its branches that children
younger than mine could inhabit 
for an afternoon. Squirrels chase 
each other up the live oak trunk, scratching
the bark. Crape myrtle, peach, plum:
our tiny arboretum. 
We had another tree that had room  
for two girls to sit in it, but the winter freeze
killed it. Gone, too,  
the neighbor whose name I never learned
who yelled at speeding cars in her front yard
wearing only a long t-shirt and underwear
with her ageless legs for all to see, 
especially me, from my kitchen, as I waited then,
as I wait now, for my daughters’ tears
to come the way they do every Sunday evening
because we cut down their climbing tree
and tomorrow is a school day, and they don’t care
about the sky dropping pink and orange curtains
around the neighbor’s house, ending an opera
about a house that held a woman’s life
that some tomorrow will scrape down. 

Copyright © 2022 by Cecily Parks. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 14, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.