I’ve been out in the damp gray
with my new red-gripped secateurs
puzzling through pruning the pear tree.
Up the ladder to look at each twig
down the ladder to look at the whole tree.
Back up the ladder to snip here, snip there.
One decision after another,
Take it or leave it? This limb or that?
Take out crossovers, take out verticals,
take the obviously dead, and the worst
of the green and gray lichen crusted.
Try to shape branches for graceful reach
horizontally radiating from the trunk.
Most of the time there is no good choice
on this tree contorted by years of neglect
and my own early mistakes. Breath deep.
It doesn't have to be perfect
just take out the congestion
and let light in to the heart.