Krysten Hill

Dangerous Things

The tree in the backyard is dangerous,
your landlord says, and must come down.
You watch from your balcony
when they start to take the limbs away.

Nests knitted to the branches tangle together on the lawn.
The workers point out all that they knew was rot,
its potential for damage. No one asks you. Why would they?
You don’t know anything about trees.
Don’t even know what kind it is by the leaves.

A week ago, this tree surprised you with flowers,
white flags that smelled like your mama
every time you walked onto your back porch.

You reached off the railing and clipped a piece,
brought it into the house. The flowers wept
in the cramped heat of your kitchen.
You should leave some things alone.

Today, the workers are gentle with the nests.
They cradle them before they bag them.
You leave your house before it’s done.
The surviving birds louder than the chainsaws, swooping
and shitting on your patio furniture.

You come back to the abandoned sky
and the red face of clean-cut stump.
You think every violent gone belongs to you.

Krysten Hill is an educator, writer, and performer. She received her MFA in poetry from UMass Boston where she currently teaches. Her work can be found in apt, The Baltimore Review, B O D Y, The Boiler, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Word Riot, Muzzle, PANK, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Winter Tangerine Review, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2016 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award. Her chapbook, How Her Spirit Got Out, received the 2017 Jean Pedrick Chapbook Prize.
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