the tree is stunted

in front of the fire station where it lived inside the scaffolding
for more than three years when they renovated the building next door
and crammed its young limbs into holes not big enough for them to grow
and the seasons came and went but the little tree, sister to the one
next door that evaded the truss of the scaffolding and is now tall
and thriving, began to sicken, and yellow
bitten into by its enemy, the scaffolding that
would not let it grow.

When I look at the tree, I think of the time when life included her,
and the limb was young and healthy.

This is too direct a comparison, but I pass the stunted tree
every day and think it is my sister, and wonder how much longer
before they chop it down for good.

Street with stunted tree on left, other tree on right. The building while restoration took place was surrounded by scaffolding.

What it looks like What it should look like

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How Dina Aunty relished her memories. Mummy and Daddy were the same, talking about their yesterdays and smiling in that sad-happy way while selecting each picture, each frame from the past, examining it lovingly before it vanished again in the mist. But nobody ever forgot anything, not really, though sometimes they pretended, when it suited them. Memories were permanent. Sorrowful ones remained sad even with the passing of time, yet happy ones could never be re-created—not with the same joy. Remembering bred its own peculiar sorrow. It seemed so unfair: that time should render both sadness and happiness into a source of pain.

> From A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry