That old tree whose bough grew sideways, sprawling;
beside the cracked concrete path, crouched down low.
In the height of summer deep crimson leaves cast a cool shadow.
A thousand tiny legs crossed its surface – bugs and children alike crawling.
Lining its trunk, the deep ridged bark
once rough, has now worn smooth. Scuffed shoes left marks
just as the purple green splotches of bruise
were pressed onto pale legs. Picked from fresh stems and dropped, ripe cherries ooze
sweet juice from split skin. Bright and dripping red
like the scraped knees that bled.
The children race home to stick plasters over a future scar
but return to an empty space. A mere memory of what it was: a stump coated with black tar.