East of our house
The skeletal remains
Of a red pine
Regard our yard

Technically speaking
It is dead
The needles long gone
The bark, shedding and flaking
It is riddled with holes
Made by the insects
The squirrels
And lively birds
That have taken up

And in this way
Of course
It is not dead at all
It is immersed
In the vitality
Of other lives
Which will extend
Many generations
Before the tree
Succumbs to gravity

It’s not a bad way to go
I could wish
That my life
Would culminate
In a death
As propitious
To the world around me

In the past week
I’ve lost four
Friends and family
Some were closer
Than others

loved a good
Flaming Margarita

Spent his passion
At cock fights

A third
Was a remarkable
Visual artist

And the fourth
Gave me many
Rich conversations

The world
Became a poorer place
As each one

The lucky
Among us
Will lose
A forest of friends
Before it’s over

And if
I have learned
In this time
Of great loss
It is this:
There is no recovery
Only immersion

Posted by Kevin McMullin

Kevin McMullin is a storyteller and author who lives in Northwestern Wisconsin. His book, “Into the Black Sea: Stories of Darkness and Light” is available at his website, www.kevinmcmullin.com.


  1. I can’t say I “like” this poem. I will say it is a beautiful and feeling tribute.


  2. Joan Madsen Kirchner 4 May 2021 at 12:22 pm

    I love this poem


  3. Ellen Terwilliger 4 May 2021 at 6:11 pm

    Kevin, thank you. As a gardener and Steve’s wife this has been a healing poem.


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