Chestnut Trees

"Two chestnut trees shade the homeWhere I grew up Like pillars of a temple They supported my first steps. For hours I stood in the front window Until the trees became my mantra. We spoke in silence Sharing secrets too deep to hear. At seventeen with the chestnut trees in full bloom I left for the monastery.

Forty years later I return each week To visit my father. Gone are the swept sidewalks Freshly painted porches Weeded flower beds. You can buy any drug In broad daylight.

What keeps the neighborhood from total collapse? Two chestnut trees, Their massive branches now embracing my home, And my honorable father Who chooses to stay."

Mary Lou Kownacki