London Plane

That plane tree caught my eye

when I first walked here. A maple,

the sellers said, wife streaming

with allergies each spring. But it was,

no, a plane tree, a memory

of where I’d come from filling the sky

of this small garden. Its fruit like furred

cherries peppered the grass each fall,

bark peeling in scabby strips,

leaves as plentiful as daylight

impaled on the rake tines, blowing

their lookalike handprints all over

this Canadian lawn.

                    Three years

I plotted murder while it stretched

always higher, mindful of its reach,

the boggling scale of its brothers

spanning London’s parks, fanning

the top windows of buildings.


This winter I gave the order

and the arborist, holstered and spurred

with chain saws and tree spikes,

scaled it, feeding its oval silhouette

to the chipper, branch by branch

until it was limbless, then a half torso, 

then a stump, ready for grinding,

all that green shade reduced

to a week’s worth of firewood.


And now there is too much sky

in its place, and one less home for the wind

to mourn in on summer nights.

Rhona McAdam has published five poetry collections; her latest, Cartography, was published by Oolichan Books in 2006. A chapbook of her food poems, The Earth’s Kitchen, is forthcoming from Leaf Press. She has a master’s degree in Food Culture from the University of Gastronomic Sciences (Slow Food’s university in northern Italy), has a food and poetry blog (the Iambic Cafe), and teaches an online course in urban agriculture and food security for St. Lawrence College in Ontario. She lives, writes and cooks in Victoria.