The tree was unimpressive when we first moved in.
It was crooked. It had been planted too near the fence
And angled away from its birthplace in search of better light.
Its upper branches were tangled in the phone wires.
It had had a rough start, planted by a neighbor
angry that another neighbor had cut down a huge tree that had once
Shaded her house.
But the tenants of our house didn’t like her
planting trees where they sometimes drove their cars.
They had killed the first two she planted
Through something more hostile than neglect.
This tree was the third she planted before
turning to overplant her own backyard.
She has since moved.
The tree grew.
Its trunk straightened itself in mid-air
Having angled out enough from the fence to find the sun.
It grew and grew.
Its branches reach high above the once treacherous wires.
Back then they were flexible and thin and dropped their leaves suddenly, in a panic over a few hot days.
Now they are broad and shade half the yard.
One is strong enough to hold a tree swing.
We too have branched since we moved here
A decade ago.
There were two of us then
Now we are five.
The children have their own strong limbs.
Two are strong enough to swing in a tree swing
As the third cries for a turn.
How did this happen?
How has enough time passed for a tree to grow from sapling
to stately presence in our yard?
For one dog, already old, to turn ancient and die?
For a young dog to grizzle as he enters his own elder years?
For three children to have been born
And only one of them still a baby,
Have I grown a decade’s worth
As the tree has?