This tree in my front yard
braces itself
for winter’s wrath each day,
with no leaves for protection
or sweet bird songs for warmth.
It plays with its shadow
to pass the time,
groaning and creaking
only when the whipping winds
become unbearable.

I watch it
swaying ever so slightly
and think of my Grandma Benson,
who has been in and out of the hospital
all month
and seemingly in and out of this world
for several days.
She’s bracing herself
for what comes next,
straining to hear birds singing,
wishing away the whipping winds.

Will she stare down this storm,
determined to see summer
for the 94th time?
I trust the tree will still be standing then.
I hope that she will be, too.