Our old sugar maple this spring,
—newly leafed limbs, flighty, like starlings,

died as suddenly as life
quickened inside me.

Its great taproot just stopped,
shut off by the driveway's asphalt smother, probably.

Meanwhile, a drip, drip,
poor unsung girl, you pool at my feet.

A dark hurt I couldn't contain.
No cold snap explanations.

They told me to get a sample anyway,
so I chopped up whatever fell out,

fetal tissue on the kitchen block,
poking around with the butcher knife tip

for certain jellied clumps to bag,
any pink-purpled smush counted for the lab.

If I could, I'd turn south
toward a Tahitian forgetting

of the sloes wintered here.
At my age, I should know better.

The tree tells me:
You never have your whole life ahead of you.

It's only what's behind, what's buried
underground to sustain.