Sticking Up

by Alice Christian

I’ve lived near maple trees my whole life.
I grew up with a yard full
of big-boned beauties.

So how is it I never saw till now, a maple
with one long branch reaching straight up,
like it needs a trim?

Dad would talk about how they grow
so slowly. He sure never
trimmed his maples.

He watched them fatten all summer,
drop gold to his knees in late fall,
and drip sweetness as winter waned.

He planted one when my oldest sister was born;
it was a stringy adolescent for ages,
too thin to tap for sugar.

But now, see,
now that he’s left us,
it’s a towering old thing like the rest.

It must be how they grow,
one gangly spike into the sky
you see if you look up.


An earlier version of this poem was displayed at a restaurant for Montpelier, VT, PoemCity, April 2015.