The Trees Waved Like Reeds 11.13.03
While I was out shopping for my brand new kicks (these black Pumas that have soles like cleats) and rocking sunglasses to protect from flying twigs and children, a tree branch, at least twice my height and probably more, and about the girth of Pico’s Johnson (ladies, feel free to attest) collapsed on my brother’s car.
To be fair, it doesn’t look like it just fell on his early 90’s Mitsubishi whatever. It looked like it broke its tree branching foot off in the hatchback a/k/a the car’s ass. With some G-Unit fury! Broken in two, shards everywhere—and that’s just the tree branch! A whole bough, leaning into the street, pointing like the head of a fallen elk. The car itself seems to have no bruises beyond the completely shattered back windshield; I approached it gingerly with a black lawn bag and some masking tape (I couldn’t find the duct tape).
(It’s somewhere here, somewhere.)
A guy with his son in the passenger seat of his grey SUV took the time to slow, stop, and express his shame over what had happened to my car.
“It’s not mine,” I said, struggling with cold fingers to loose a five-inch length of yellowed tape. “It’s my brother’s.”
“Well,” he replied, turning back to the road, “he’s not going to be happy.”
I only grazed a cube of glass once, struggling to hold the makeshift tarp down and protect my brother’s car from the elements; the forecast called for rain. There’s no reason to really worry; this car is one of the cars my brother works his semi-amateur mechanic magic, not worth more than $2000, probably not more than $1000. The neighbor a house away drove in, walked by, looked, went inside.
Kids walked by close to see. The last of the tarp still bucked and writhed with each wind gusts, but it looked secure. The wind strained the tape but the tape stood firm. I was on my neighbor’s property—my brother parked his car in front of her lawn—and I break two pieces of branch with my hands, my feet, my whole body. Branches cracked like bones. Brittle bones—what I remember from arboreal science, treeology, whichever, that color on the inside the tree is unhealthy, a sign of rot. Which partly explains why half the tree fell in the first place.
I looked up and the trees swayed like reeds; leaves neatly packed against our gate, windblasted. Empty boxes have toured the neighborhood only to deposit on top of the pile of leaves. The sidewalks swept clean and imprints of former leaves dot the white concrete. I got my first splinter, while in a fit of manly branch stomping. Of course I said, “splinter,” and went back to my task, until I could break no more. Now, the bough was sizable enough for the garbage men to pick up on Friday.
Running through the wind and into my house, inside, warm, radio, chocolate, typing, rest.