We watched her grow, begin to produce
green-covered nuts. He counted and guarded
each one, as if to ready for war.
Perched by the window, he threw rocks
at squirrel-thieves. Stones rippled
into Fall’s puddles. Why does a tree
give itself away every year, and then
have nothing left? The tree and my body
learned to say, no, no, no!
For years after we separated,
he said he was coming home.
There is no home.
Developers killed the tree,
the 100 year old house, and our attic.
The maze of roots were abandoned
under a sterile eight-story complex;
no space for green. The tree would have tangled
through phone lines, overtaken arguments.
Left to her own, she would have won. I still
love him for loving rare black walnuts.
He knew how to crack the hardest shells.
Carrie Albert is a multifaceted artist and poet. Her poems and multimedia works have been published widely in journals and anthologies, including Up the Staircase Quarterly, Grey Sparrow Journal, Foliate Oak, Earth’s Daughters, ink, sweat & tears. . . She lives in Seattle.