Peeling the Bark

As I drove past
the shirtless man,
his head wrapped
in cloth against
the desert sun,
he peeled the last
bit of bark
from a young
palo verde
as if to strip
away all
trace of green
from a world
he once knew.
How dare it grow
when acid hate
falls from the sky
and the ground
bears only fear
and despair,
when the buds
wither and die,
and the rot
goes all the way
to the roots.

First published inĀ Ginosko Literary Journal 19