Two years ago I watched as a man lopped branches
from his cypress trees in a neighbouring garden. He removed
two or three branches at a time, leaving six inches
or so for him to stand on to cut the next round.
I was in early labour, and all day I watched this
performance from my bedroom window until
but two of the twelve shaggy conifers were reduced to
For weeks, a pair of wood pigeons circled and skimmed
the treetops daily. I recalled coming home to another neighbour–
another neighbourhood, another evergreen–drunk and sobbing
about the pigeons he had displaced. ‘I didn’t know’, he swore,
cupping a nest, while its pigeons perched on a shed
roof across the lane.
I had forgotten all that until this morning when
two more wood pigeons landed on top of
one of the remaining trees. This cypress was four fifths de-branched
before the arborist (my spellcheck wants me to write ‘abortionist’)–
on learning the trees were his neighbour’s–aborted his efforts,
leaving a Dr Seuss mop-headed tree. Two years
it has looked like this. A peculiarly perfect place for a nest–
a tree that looks like a full tree, a healthy tree, from the perspective
of home. But on entry, and re-entry, and entry again, they must know that
something is not right.