Trimmers free my giant valley oak
of Spanish moss and mistletoe.
Over axe and saw I hear the drumbeat
from the high school band. Word arrives
from Albuquerque: my friend has died.
Can we call woman an oak? It’s Julie!
She packed adobe bricks by hand, called herself Datura,
Buffalo Woman to friends.
She took my hand to guide me through up to Acoma.
We blessed new homes in Zuni Shalako.
My son a baby, I carried him to Julie’s adobe.
His hair caught light from her stained glass.
Now he starts his senior year.
I hear the drumbeat of the band.
Hydraulic chairs lift pruners to the branch
where wisteria flowers in the oak.
I witness the ballet and plead with men to save
the purple bloom. My friend has died
I hear the drumbeat of old land,
catch the desert scent of creosote bush.
My friend has died.
Glenna Luschei is the founding editor of Solo Press, now in its 45th year. Along with her support of magazines and publishers, Luschei works in the arts community. She lives in Carpinteria, California, where she tends her garden and her avocado orchard.