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Fresh-ly wiped out

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Once a playground for the squirrels,
rushing up and down my trunk,
a nesting place for birds,
and home to mice among my roots.

Announcing the coming spring
with leaves and flowers.
A refuge from the summer sun
my limbs
provided shade and coolness.
My autumn colors inspired
the old and young alike.
My nakedness in winter
a promise that the cycle
is about to begin again.

Alas, no longer tall and vigorous
after a dance with death:
Wind and rain-
ferocious forces.
I lay broken
torn apart-
the stench of rotting leaves
fill the air.

My last wish and testament?
Come winter
gather round the fire-place
and bid me fare-well.

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