To the Tree Still Clinging to its Leaves Well Past Its Butterfly Prime

Each spring I fall in love
with the tree that never lost
its leaves, that somehow

escaped winter’s thrall,
hanging on for dear life,
even though its sentimental

attachment to stale
photosynthesis means
it will be developmentally

challenged through the summer
months. I take pity
on this tree, it has to

endure the taunts
of the evergreens who never
change or save their skin

instead bustle in the breeze
prepared for every element.
I love this tree, even

though I realize pity isn’t
love. I want to hug
this tree, and shake

some sense into it, convince it to
join the burgeoning fold
of snowless ephemera,

loose its stubbornness
holding onto an evaporating
season—the ineradicable

frame of green reference—
Shall I compare thee to
a wilted rumpled hungover tree?

See, the buds are starting
to blossom on the other branches
more hip to the times—

isn’t it better, tree, wouldn’t
you agree, to break into
bloom, full unknowing

your brown brittle fate?
Taste the tongue of the sun,
forget your revolving past.

You’ll be here a lot longer
than I will, tree—you might
as well get used to it.

By Joshua Keiter

reader, writer, actor, singer, teacher