by Kathleen Hellen
Poorly situated. Stunted. A pine, a thug beside
the ornamental grasses, the native majesty of the hydrangeas.
I had to put my back to it, roots drilled down, balled tighter
than expected, a fob of compact dirt and worms, the tiniest of spiders.
Beside the fence in back, I had to dig a hole twice as wide,
set it straight. Push, my father said,
though he was only in my head.
Push with your fists—
tamping ground, packing it with shoulder set
to relocation. Watering to drench,
to compensate for debt of soil,
its yellow strangeness.
Kathleen Hellen is a poet and the author of Umberto’s Night (2012), winner of the Washington Writers’ Publishing House poetry prize, and The Girl Who Loved Mothra (2010). Awards include first-place poetry prizes from the H.O.W. Journal and Washington Square Review as well as finalist for the Kore Press First Book Award and the Neruda Prize at Nimrod and two Pushcart nominations in 2013.