Poems of the Week

Center Piece

by Julia Griffin

“The seven-inch-tall northern saw-whet, one of North America’s tiniest owl-species, was found
nestled inside the base of a 75-foot-tall spruce tree that had been chopped down in upstate New York and transported by truck to … Rockefeller Plaza, to be erected as its annual iconic Christmas tree.”
National Geographic

for Katherine

That’s not my name. I hope you’ll not confuse
My kinsfowl with some oily parvenus;
Nor would I say I’m “tiny”: seven inches
Is twice (at least) the length of many finches.
I hate to boast, but I’ve a pedigree
That might surprise you. That first hacked-down tree
The Lorax popped from? My great-grandma’s place:
A blameless victim of your axe-mad race.
That cherry tree George Washington laid flat?
Two of my foreowls were enfeoffed with that;
And that first pear tree? Auntie’s, every stick,
Till chopped and rented to some partridge chick.
I could go on. Whenever you’ve inflicted
An axe upon a tree, guess who’s evicted?
My luckless kin’s been doomed to nest in vain
Since Birnam Wood took off for Dunsinane.