by Tim Krcmarik Issue: Fall 2018 Special Issue on Justice
And the man sat.
And the tree was happy.
    - Shel Silverstein
But after a while the wind blew,
and deep in her roots the tree recalled
green canopy, white blossoms,

her great black limbs
groaning in sunlight
or waltzing with a storm.

And the man sitting there
cradling the anvil of self-pity
felt suddenly like an anvil himself.

Birds sang how the tree,
once orphaned to glacial darkness,
had spread her rings across a century,

but she could hear only
the patter of small white fists
pounding her trunk with regret.

“I love you,” she began to say,
“I have always loved you,”
when the man let fly

sighing with violent pleasure.
And somewhere inside the tree
a door shut,

glass shattered, waters broke
at the bottom of a well.
And here—as I float the Buffalo

on a cold Spring morning
watching a man the shape of a cracker barrel
flick one cigarette butt after another

into the kingfishers and cricket frogs—
here is where I would understand
if the tree grew teeth and ate the old man

leaving his bloody ear in the mud
like a calling card,
where I would withhold judgement,

maybe even cheer a little
and wave a bright pennant on a stick,
if she pried herself  

from the Earth’s wet suck
and wriggled off, a dichotomous octopus
hellbent on sating her newfound

lust for muscle and bone,
towards the annals of human horror

by way of fiery climax
in the ashes of Houston
or the Lake of Innisfree.

Tim Krcmarik

Tim Krcmarik is a twelve year Lieutenant with the Austin Fire Department. He runs on Engine 1 downtown and lives in Austin, TX with his wife and son.