The chainsaw revs, wakes us to falling

limbs and pulping. Not the birch,

I pray, to what God of no


mercy, I know not. For it is the birch,

too close to the power lines, being

carved out. My son squeezes my


hand. People fear roots, I mumble—

which sounds creepy— maybe

the tree was sick, I add.


The comfort-lie, we both know— leaves

gusting down the picture-perfect block.


Joey told me entry-level jobs are being

replaced by artificial intelligence.

This shit is real, my son blurts.


(Joey: his best friend’s older brother.)

Typically, I would chastise this shit

is real. And lambast Joey.


Instead, I ruffle the top of his cherished

head. When did he start using hair

gel? My fifth-grader trying


to be tough, to take my eyes of what was

once my favorite tree, to comprehend

this irrational world. After drop-off,


I drag back home— only the trunk is left.

Goggled workers, in bright orange, feed

the silver branches to machines.


Someday, robots will do this. They will

also drive trucks cross country, scoop

ice-cream cones, walk our dogs.


The city trucks are a jolly green.

Emblazoned across their sides:

Yes, cultivation is good here.


by Rebecca Irene

Rebecca Irene is a graduate of Swarthmore College, and recently received her MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work is published, or forthcoming, in Eunoia Review, Sixfold, Amaryllis, Dime Show Review, and elsewhere. She received a 2018 fellowship from the Norton Island Artist Residency Program. A Poetry Reader for Hunger Mountain and The Maine Review, she lives in Portland, Maine, where she supports her word-addiction by waitressing.

Listed at Duotrope
Listed with Poets & Writers
CLMP Member
List with Art Deadline
Follow us on MagCloud