He started at first light,
Slicing through the ruin
Of a Texas oak with handsaw and ax.
All morning he cut and dug,
Cut and dug
While sweat poured down him
In a steady stream, matted his hair,
Turned his shirt
From blue to black.
Sometimes he would mutter in Portuguese,
Mop his brow or straighten his back
But he never stopped,
While noon turned to evening
And light began to fade
In the flying dust.
By nightfall nothing was left
But empty earth. He put his tools away,
Finally pulled off his boots.
This morning I planted a new tree
In the space he had made.
Today an assortment of twigs,
This Brazilian rattlebox soon
Will dapple the blazing patio with green
And bloom in the language
Of his forebears, sending out a thousand
Orange melodies for all to hear.
Every leaf will sing his name.