The artificial Christmas tree
tricked out with too-big ornaments,
looking brown under pink airport fluorescents,
serves as a harbinger of doom
for the tearful twenty-something
across the aisle from me on the plane,
head in hand, hoarsely negotiating
an almost breakup on his cell phone.
By takeoff, he’s tackled all the issues,
calmed himself a bit, exchanged “I love yous,”
but having been in his position,
I like to tell him when he lands
to find the axe and cut down this relationship.
No matter how it’s decorated,
or how many lights they string around it,
their love won’t be evergreen,
or even real with roots–
just plastic limbs wired together,
not merely dead but never-living.
T. Allen Culpepper