Volume 30, Number 4

Brevard County, Florida

Stupidity helps.
Naiveté that your hands will undo
what does perfectly without you.…

          —Jennifer K. Sweeney, “How to Uproot a Tree”

My brother planted rows of trees around
His home.  Those native species sprouted up,
Joined hearty conifers — — like the slash pines — —
Created natural bird habitats,
Provided sanctuaries for chipmunks,
Squirrels, ringed turtledoves, and talkative
Types: cuckoos, nightjars, whip-poor-wills, scrub-jays.

With the Sun Belt’s heat, saplings rooted fast.
As trees matured, the highway noise could not
Compete as much.  Thick branches broke the wind,
Protecting dwellings during Florida’s
Fierce hurricanes, supporting nests, adding
Serenity, shade, cool green company.

Returning from vacation, he was shocked.
The county had ripped out his backyard’s trees,
Destroyed the habitat, with this excuse:
A treeless stretch is easier to mow.

His windows watched the garden’s ravaging.

The household hears the daily uprooting
Of neighbors’ vegetation, flower beds,
Magnolias, Southern cedars, tall poplars,
Mimosas (hummingbirds’ sweet favorite),
Palmettos, hornbeams, dogwoods — — sacrificed!

Erosion of the soil.  Increased dust storms.
Mosquitoes multiply without those birds.

My brother sees equipment strip the land,
Severing bonds of live things everywhere.

—LindaAnn LoSchiavo