arms of protection long gone

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I cried when the church men came to take my grandma’s trees away
chipping away at the silent entities that sheltered these children
as they discovered in a backyard long since vacated
each other’s secret and unattainable fantasies

the old apple tree in the far back
long overdue for a merciful death
with a low crevice serving as a base
for quests meant for star-winged fairies

and the stump by the swingset
used to house a dozen dream-makers
and a few squirrels aggravated
by the constant onslaught of walnut projectiles

the old and wizened giant
once crouching in approval in the front yard
once offering its strong arms for years of family photos
now sits and condemns with a jagged cut across

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