A small stack of thick, twisted, gnarly branches,
and a compact pile of evergreen a man high
are all there is to show for twenty plus years of growth.
It was inherited landscaping we grew tired of
after eighteen years of benign neglect.
Took these five bushes two decades plus
to spread their foliage and sink their roots
deep in the bank of the ditch
and send their tendrils into one another
to create a tangled mess of ground cover.
Took me about five hours to undo it all,
saw and shears and shovel and pick,
cutting and pulling and digging and hacking,
five hours to reduce twenty years
to middling piles of yard refuse.
There was no sentiment to it—
though we hid Easter eggs there several times,
and they were a natural boundary from the road
on that section of the lawn,
these bushes elicited no sympathy.
Maybe I should have felt something
destroying so quickly what it took nature
so long to grow,
but it was the workman in me,
there’s a project, get it done,
make short work of it,
no need for emotion here.
We’ll replant, of course,
something more pleasing to the eye, perhaps,
and not so unruly and out of control,
and maybe, twenty years from now,
whoever inherits this place will look at these azaleas
and think, these have got to go.
If so, they should be a little easier to dispose of
than the deep-rooted, wannabe trees
I just dismantled.