by Alexander Noel Miller
Black Maple Tree
When I met Her
She was a maple tree.
I think, slowly,
Their fungal words ate away at Her leaves,
Soon She was not everywhere,
But almost nowhere,
Hiding Her infection.
They stayed clear
Of The Black Maple Tree,
Leaves eaten up and dark…
Would come from that tree.
I think when I met her, I liked the strange taste.
And while everyone came and went
To see the maple trees,
I sat, and stayed,
Under The Black, Maple Tree—
Still beautiful, strange, and sweet…
Because She looked something like Me.
Curse of The A.m. scutellata
Bees in the same colony even say it—
“High yellow. Not enough black.”
Shame is heavy, slow-dripping, like honey,
Sweet shame, Me dying a slow, sweet death everyday—
Common as wind on chimes.
“What do you call yourself?” says one of Them.
“Just a drop and you’re one of Us,” says the Other.
They think I’ll sting, or take over.
There’ll be no coup.
“I’m just a bee, like you,” I say.
Father from the West,
Mother—Africanized, ‘Killer Bee’.
Someone in my family was strong and fit—
Their wings worked hard, good foragers,
And their legs sored rouge in Fields of flowers…
What’s wrong with Me and my shade?
I float around
Looking for a tree to rest my tired wings.
Flying can be great, free.
But lately, spent
Most my days, still, inoculated
My color stands out against light trees.
Birds eat me. They prey on me.
I have no place here.
It’s not safe. I’m watched day-to-day.
There are others, the normal ones,
Untouched, Flying, free to float about.
The forest is good to
When will the factories come?
The smoke, the soot,
Get into the trees… peppered moth,
So the birds won’t see Me.
You want it all right now.
Things are never born as they will be
Attitude and the hammer give a man shape.
The nails driven into his heart
Along the way, before You, Woman, and after You,
The stone slab of this Man,
Apt and stingy with tears, will break
At some point.
But his shoes are firm,
Unwavering, stacking and exchanging
New Soles for better ones.
The growth to come
Can be in the Blueprint,
No overnight puzzle.
I am renovated and constantly