I shape a plum tree first,
leggy in its second-year growth,
clipping the central leader a foot or two
above the first ring of branches,
in turn trimming each of those
a shoe’s length from the main stem
—just past a bud and at angle instead of flat
to ensure water drains.
Where disease struck the apple and peach trees, I cut more,
severing branches stricken with fungal rust,
fire blight, or virus, disinfecting the pruning shears
with alcohol between cuts.
I trim extra to be safe, mindful
of things newly pruned by virus from our lives:
unnecessary flights, shopping from boredom,
nights playing music with my son,
our elders and begetters.