John Thomas York

Though they thrive where winter is long and deep
not our foothills southeast of the Blue Ridge
my grandfather planted a pair in 1933
one on either side of his wide front porch
looking over the farm he would leave to wife and children

long after he was gone the aspens breathed into my adolescence
outside dormer windows through September

where I dreamed of sleeping on the beach
beside a calm ocean at high tide
moon-silvered waves running out almost touching my hand—

until the xylem died and the trees fell to chainsaws
the silver bark the blighted shimmering leaves
the farm subdividing given over to trailer and brick

for decades along the road suckers have sprouted from the aspens' long roots
saplings falling to the mowing machines
leaves flashing like a green wave

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