Back home I’d always see the tall oak trees muddled with Spanish Moss.
To the passersby they added to the charm of the city-
a certain southern appeal
To me they fed an uneasiness deep within-
an instinctual dread
Seeing the clusters hang like strange fruit from the strong outstretched branches.
They, having been worn ragged from the weight of their station.
On occasion, the breeze would breathe life into the treetops
Gray and gaunt they’d sway like specters through the air
When the summer storms would come,
I’d return to see them littering the pavement, having finally fallen to earth .
Still, their fibrous form loomed over every moment of our days haunting the place we called home
Their appearance, a bouquet for every headstone denied,
A marker for each soul lost in an institution most peculiar.
But I’ve learned not to dread them
Preferring instead to offer a tacit respect For the guardians yet remaining