Across Chicago, the Oaks Are
Having a Mast Year

And everywhere you look, the Swamp Whites and Shingles,
the Reds and Posts, the Chinquapins and Scarlets –
every one together at once mysteriously decided: “this is the year!”

and acorns erupt in great gouts of abundance, swollen
clusters bob at the end of every branch,
shells and detritus cover the sidewalks.

Even our lone backyard Bur joins in,
its nest of squirrels so gorged
they can barely rouse themselves to tease the dog
when she sniffs around its base.

Seven years ago, in the lot next door to us, before
everything was razed for new construction –
all high end finishes and deluxe amenities –
there were seven oaks, each one easily forty feet tall,

holding court above the little frame house,
box elders, wild grapes, and mulberry trees,
the great shaded spread of them
muting the sounds of the city.

But they all came down in a long afternoon,
their stumps as broad
as banquet tables before the grinders arrived
and turned them to sawdust and mud.

Maybe under all the pea gravel and sand
and concrete and sod, down where there is no sun,
ghost roots still reach beneath the fence
toward our little Bur, which is maybe not alone,

which maybe listens and waits to hear:

Fritz Eifrig lives, works, and gardens in the city of Chicago where he has been for the past 33 years. His poems have appeared in Olney Magazine, The Loch Raven Review, Blue River, and After Hours. His self-published chap, familiar dark, is available via Etsy at: The Weeping Manatee.

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