I loved the boy who tore down my treehouse,
so I didn’t tell him to stop. I just climbed down
and let the destruction happen because
he was drunk, and I was a fatalist
and believed then, as I do now
that all good things must come to an end.
It wasn’t my treehouse. It belonged to the town.
It belonged to the spirit of every teenager
who ever needed a place in an uncut swathe of forest
on unparceled land, to sit and stare quietly
or hide from the crowd in greenleaf peace
or let the crowd hide them.
Before, when days turned early to cold and dark
we found an old fender buried in the ferns
used it as a hearth, gathered sticks and paper,
and built a fire in the treehouse.
Floating faces in the glowing light, sparks flying to heaven
and there was the Boy I Loved laughing
when I griped about how my folks spent my college money.
Yeah, it was kind of funny.
He’s not the one I miss. Looking back
on that crowd around the fire, I see my Brother
from Another Mother, My Best Friend’s Boyfriend, he was the one
who helped me out of the tree as the Boy I Loved ripped it down around me.
He held out his hand, again and again, when love got drunk
and ripped the world down around me.
Last time I saw him , he was in a nest of wires
and bottles and tubes and machines that go “ping!”
Cancer slowed him down long enough for me to catch up to him.
Surprise, A Boy I Loved had just wrecked my world, but I held out my hand this time
asking him please, take it, lean on me, while it all falls down.
So far, he has not taken it.
I was hoping, so hoping, like Hansel and Gretel,
We could find our way out of these woods together.