Harvest in the South Park Blocks
By: Kerstin Schulz
The trees are wrapped in caution tape
precursors to a crime, a paper rape
nestled in the fine print.
Talcum powder, a minefield marker
last used in Afghanistan,
runs up the center of a tree
like the ghost of future blasts,
outlines the width of
a prospective bike path.
adept at doublespeak
call the city green,
pro art, pro child, pro park
but plan to swipe the space
where field trip buses park.
Twice robbed museums,
concert halls and market stalls
face the fall of centenary trees
wiped out with a percussive pen.
The canopy is cancelled.
Now under our new desert sun,
mortar heat pounds concrete,
a rider’s right of way
that girdles the city,
strangles the cambium layer
of tree and town,
offers a place for tent and cardboard
inner-city that sidewalks have outgrown.
Kerstin Schulz has been writing poetry off and on for 50 years. She began submitting her work for publication in 2020. Kerstin's poems appear or are forthcoming in Montana Mouthful and the Sonnets for Shakespeare Anthology. Kerstin lives in Portland, Oregon.
"I wrote 'Harvest in the South Park Blocks' in response to the City of Portland South Park Blocks proposed Master Plan . A photo of tagged trees that would be impacted by the Plan was an eye-opener and I felt impelled to write this piece. To cut down 100-plus year old healthy trees breaks my heart."