Lining up for trees

All morning in the cold,
bundled up and in line;

clear silhouettes of trees cut a rim
dark as viridian around the park.

Each of us is given a short
form: name, number, neighborhood.

Gulls give us the side-eye,
huddled near the trash bins.

I know what I want, among the list
jotted down in chalk by the volunteer

kneeling on the asphalt: Fuyu Persimmon,
lush as a peach at peak ripeness;

more delicious, I think, than plum or
nectarine. Virtue and longevity,

oxheart shine, twig after twig
prospering into bending abundance.

Quince or chinquapin? Keiffer Pear?
Rumor of a nut or a stone inside the burr.

Some ladies from a local club have brought
tasting samples of fruit jams and preserves.

Under a sign, another volunteer extols
virtues of the rain barrel. I sign up too,

walk finally to the table where I claim
exactly one sapling, ready to go in the ground.

Young tree, both tough and willowy, I’ll dream
zygotes and little orange planets in the tree one spring.

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