After the incident in the city I found the decision tree.
It spread towards heaven and hell from its trunk
in the yard of my grandmother’s house before her stroke.
Who goes there, she said, laughing. My grandmother
never said stuff like that. Who goes there? It’s me,
Grandma. I’m trying to figure out what to do.
You haven’t done the lawn in 39 years, she said,
standing in the driveway. The house’s current owners
drove through her ghost and parked. Can I help you,
asked the driver as he got out. I could have told him
Yes, you actually can help me, that’s what I came here
for, but you just ran through my grandmother and now
I’m a little confused. They’re all gone, she said, standing
by my side. Do you remember how your sister would
give me hard candies when I lived with you all, she said.
She’s gone. No she’s not, I said, she’s still here, she
has two daughters, they’re in college, she married Ernie
don’t you remember Ernie? Oh, she’s long gone said
my grandmother. They all are. She was walking away
back toward the house. Do you remember when we
surprised you at the Cape and brought you and Peg
ice cream from the Ice Cream Smuggler, I called
to her. Is that all gone, too? Am I gone? She kept walking,
through the man and his car and his two children still sitting
in the car, and they all sneezed. Then I felt her hand
on my shoulder. You go on, her voice said. You don’t
need a tree to tell you that. It was a maple, that tree
and one night even lightning couldn’t kill it.