Rainbow Tree

Eucalyptus deglupta

All afternoon in the heat,
in silence, on the day that became
for so many the day of the dead,

we pulled up crabgrass and weeds,
cleared the small plot of soil along one
side of the house to make way for the plants

we’d brought from the garden store
two nights ago. We put the balloon
flowers next to the hosta and lavender,

their deep blue unopened buds swelling
like tiny hot air balloons on the ends
of their stems. Earlier, on the news,

announcers began to list the names
of the dead. I thought of how I’d just
read of a nature book on Strange Trees

bottle trees, sapodillas, ghost trees; red
mangroves whose restless prop roots seem
to walk away from their branches and into

the blue-green waters. And down south
in that faraway country of my birth,
the rainbow tree whose bark

sheds strips of vibrant color, bright green
and salmon changing into purple every year.
So many colors we want to see

take root in the soil or in container
gardens. If only the heart discerned
each human face in this way.

~ in memoriam, victims of the 12 June 2016 Orlando shooting


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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