Traumatic Amputation by W. D. Ehrhart

Traumatic Amputation

I often walk on nearby Bryn Mawr campus.
Beautiful old college. Beautiful wooded campus.
Some of the trees older than the college.
Magnificent. Take-your-breath-away stately.

But just today, from way across the campus,
I noticed something odd, a vista out-of-place,
an empty space, a vaguely troubling something
I could not at first identify till I got closer.

Then I saw three fresh new tree stumps,
each at least a meter and a half across
and naked white, the cuts so recent that
the wood exposed had not begun to age.

What just a week ago had been three ancient
massive beech trees, home to birds and bugs
and squirrels and who knows what all else,
now were only amputated memories

that likely won’t last longer than my own.
I know that nothing lasts forever, and there
may have been good reason to remove these trees.
But their absence leaves our world much diminished.


W. D. Ehrhart is an ex-Marine sergeant and veteran of the American War in Vietnam. His latest book is Thank You for Your Service: Collected Poems, McFarland & Company.

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