Hemlock


The woolly adelgid is a non-native insect that is destroying stands of eastern hemlock trees in at least 18 states, including NH & VT. Climate change makes the trees more susceptible to the threat. There is no widespread way to control it. 

No dream is evergreen.
There's sleep and then there's sleep
and where have we been? 
In the end small things
are troublemakers, the northern star
in broad daylight at night, 
and all because we carry them
over the borders in our sleep. 
We've been singing the praises of things
that lead us to places we only later,
if ever, recognize as astray. 
The adelgid in its little hard shell
is laying its soft wool into the trees
that covered mountains for an eon
of what will become what was once
a grand range, after a possible lifespan
of 800 years. When we finally look up
now those cones fall into our eyes.
The thing we missed when we blinked
was the time of could, the thing
is there's no river sacred enough to us
and there is a thirst the size of a world
of forests. It's filling with a white fur
that isn't snow, is instead a filament
wound around the numb
web of our somnambulant design.
Across the ancient hillsides
shining green needles shrivel to brown.
We didn't wake up early enough,
didn't listen to any warning
songs of birds. If a bird
sings in the hemlock forest and no one
hears it are we asleep or only dreaming? 
What happens when the tree
that could help us die with dignity
leaves us without any as it dies?
So many things we needed
gone from their own dreams.