Tree of heaven,
the ailanthus so graceful
and disparaged. The "garbage tree."
Who notices its rhythm
in downtown alleys or gritty
abandoned lots. Junk tree,
at home in soot.
would I think of it
this minute, walking head down
on the flats, the peculiar hermit crabs
scrabbling away from me, manifest
hysteria in the pearly August
but once carried--precious
cargo--from China for ornament,
for shade. For its tropical attitude.
Ailanthusaltissima. Last choice
anywhere other trees grow:
limbs easily broken;
invaders of drains
and wells; awful-smelling male
flowers. Allergies. Hay
if you'd look at them
with any sympathy, or hope of pleasure.
Here to stay. Here
these little crabs
haul their appropriated
snaily shells into a
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