These pines they look the shape of heartbreak:
Knobby spindles seem ill-matched to nature’s best,
Much less her worst. They do not guard but slouch,
Splayed, awkward, like you were at the very last
Of the parties. Oh, you’d tried to beg off, feigned
Headache or another vague pain damnably
Impervious to proof. You did relent, of course –
Rudeness always troubled you — but glared from
Half-lidded eyes as you drank too much, to spite:
Then at two am you retched, twice, before
Throwing (me) up, triumphant. The last act.
But back to the pines, scrubby little things.
Does anyone choose a pine? Or are they just
The first men standing, and the last? Hardy,
they are. Unlike us. They outlived all of it,
The coy eyes, the hands, electrified, brushing up,
The passion, the settling, the idea of children,
And their exhausting reality, until their goodbyes.
And then the looking around, the surprise, the
“Now what?” That’s when I saw the pines, and knew:
They would be waiting, even after us, looking
Forlorn and wretched, as they always had, limbs
Not touching but stumbling into one another,
Mumbling pardons, making stuttering excuses,
Humiliated, red-faced, even if red is said
To be a color quite peculiar for a conifer.