We razed Saguaro today,
and yesterday too.
Mature only at 35
a plant that lives
up to 175 years.
Ugly, that we.
I am so far away from that now.
I am in another temperature controlled room.
Just another Panera of purgatory
with roast beef that tastes like cold
and limp arugula.
Let me remind me
there was never a utopia
certainly not at the Olive Garden of Eden
despite their transubstantiating breadsticks
or a world of perfect unity
and thus: Wendy’s Apocalypse.
Some people don’t want to see
a brand name in a poem,
but this is the landscape of our lives,
even more than the trees now.
175 years ago:
No Gold Rush,
no Levi’s. No Sacramento.
No water mining through the mountains.
No bodies underneath railroad tracks.
The Battle of the Alamo only eight years distant,
and so so so many more buffalo.
I am reminded of reminding.
I can almost tell if I will like a person
depending on how they speak of national memory.
The radiant orange and yellow sunset
of a Cactus Cooler
surrounded by neon green
and Gumby Saguaro ready to be crushed
by my fist.
What a strange way to remember something:
so easily trampled.
160 years ago:
It takes three weeks to cut down a giant Sequoia.
Its bark will be used for toothpicks.
A saw’s first job: to cut.
A Saguaro’s first job: to live.
One of these has purpose. The other is a tool.
Fell the Saguaro: cut down the memory.
Memories can be too prominent.
Life isn’t useful enough to have its own protection.
Something about a tree
reminds me of not speaking.
Something about a cactus
reminds me of memory.
Julie Webb is a poet from Northern California, currently living in England. She graduated from Bowling Green State University and is the Blog Editor for Longleaf Review.