The old woman talks her way
around the pond slowly, speaking as
Her eyes and hands jump about.
The boy walks along and listens.
As she walks round the far side,
The old woman spots a young tree
Bound to the glossy black water
By a thin cord. It cuts the bark pulling
Green out from beneath the soft gray.
“That line’ll kill that tree,” she says.
Then she says they ought to save it
And the boy leans out to catch the line.
“Don’t fall in!” she says.
“There might be gators.”
The knot is small and tight.
She pulls at it, then the boy pulls.
They take turns. Between them, working,
They get it loose, coil it up, leave the line
In a pile in the grass beside the tree.
“Is the tree okay now?” he asks.
“That tree will be fine,” she says.
And so the two set out again round the pond.
She says still all that she sees, while he listens
To the sky whispering to the trees and the grass.