Last night was the Strawberry Moon. Tonight, I cannot see the moon in the sky. Tonight, as my mother lay dying in our den, a tree was felled from our neighbor's yard, to make way for a swimming pool. A man cradled by a rope scaled the tree, and cut it limb by limb, as a crew of others in green shirts stood in our yard to guide the falling parts away from harm, away from my mother who lies, one foot here, one foot there, her shallow breaths and pulsing neck monitored by my hungry eyes. A glass door and five men shielded her from the tree, but there is no one to shield the masses who love my mother from what is falling on us.
I stretched myself on a deck chair tonight and listened to my brother who spoke to his new friend with the beautiful name. I looked at the spot where the tree was, and the tree in our yard that stands silhouetted by a ghost. It stands still, and will continue to, without the caress of another's leaves against its own. My mother will not know our new friends, she will not know the children who will be named for her. My mother will never read this. I whisper in her ear to be a butterfly, to fly into the sky like the butterflies we grew as children, from chrysalis to beings of the sky. I tell her to be free to go, so she can land on our shoulders.