After

by Tom Swift

I took care of my fallen friend (tree) on Memorial Day.

I sawed her limbs. I broke off her branches.

I crushed up her twigs. There were twigs everywhere.

I held in my hands her stump, which weighed more than it looked.

I piled her logs, which were more in number than it appeared.

I dug up her roots.

I pulled out what felt like the equivalent of the tree’s heart. I don’t know so much about trees but that is what it felt like as I held a forearm’s length bit of the base, turning it over in my hands. This is the part that had, when she was alive, combined with the earth — a brown and buried part in which it was not possible to tell where the tree began and the soil ended.

When I was done, I mowed over the grass that had grown underneath, in the time between the fall and the burial.

I gave away some of her wood to my neighbor. He has helped me more than once in recent weeks. He has a fire pit. The pyre.

There is now nothing left in the spot but a hole in the ground.