Boundaries – by Holly Guran

He was called Abdullah
a safe name because he was
Christian in Lebanon
born during the war.
Now he’s Ab his daughter tells us
when she says they want to cut
the tall maple in the corridor
between our houses,
a corridor they got wrong when
they built the white fence.
She doesn’t mind us
having a few extra feet.
Abdullah and his friend come
to cut the maple.
I am glad because
maples can be invasive.
They bring only a Sawzall,
speak Arabic, no ropes or pulleys,
no big truck.
I look out and worry.
How will they stay safe?
The branches come down
one by one until only a long
naked pole stands.
Then they cut at the base
and that falls too,
gets chopped into many.
A day later Abdullah calls out
My friend, you are happy?    
We did good job? You have sun!
I agree. Yes. A good job. Yes,
I am happy, Ab.

Holly GuranHolly Guran, author of Twilight Chorus, River of Bones, and the chapbooks River Tracks and Mothers’ Trails, earned a Massachusetts Cultural Council award and coordinates a popular Boston reading series. Her work has appeared in journals including Mom Egg Review, Poet Lore, Poetry East, Borderlands, Worcester Review, and Salamander.