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July 1, 2012, vol 8, no 2

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Carol Pearce-Worthington

Eighty Feet

Yellow-helmeted men wearing strap harnesses and dusty boots vanish into some of the Central Park trees this morning. The cutters weave their way through years of growth, sunlight, and nests, and twist within their thrown and dangling ropes and hug tree trunks and twirl as they climb, slicing branches that clatter down to where they are gathered in piles and spun into sawdust. I ask one man how he gets his rope so high that it arcs over the top of a tree, and he says he can throw a plumb line 80 feet. Just practice, he says.

Tonight the trees rustle in a cold wind that probes their wounds like a tongue on a sore. What's been done, what's been taken, what's left? From my window on the seventh floor, I imagine myself swinging from a rope.

what I do here is
you—who is this
you that I do