skeptical soil

ten trees arrived in the mail today

their tender trunks scarcely more than twigs

but already I was imagining the bank

of white blossoms in the spring —

hawthorne, dogwood, crab —

and the pale hellebores i’d bought

that would start blooming in the snow

the ground beneath the pines is laced

with an invasive vine that insidiously

strangles everything it meets

it had even twined its way inside

the rotting redbud we cut down this afternoon to make way for the new trees

last summer I walked to and fro

with gallon jugs of poison, liberally

dousing every greening weed I saw

not once, but twice at least —

and now you could hardly even tell

i had done anything

can Lenten roses grow from ground

so grievously infested?

can tiny trees thrive in skeptical soil?