Saturday, 17 March 2012


i emerge onto the wide porch of my place of work
and do a swift double-take
something has grabbed my attention by virtue its absence
like spotting a hole in a garment
for where once there stood a mature horse chestnut tree
overhanging the wide grey asphalt of the car park
all that now remains is a forlorn-looking stump
it is like suddenly taking in the death of a friend
in fact that horse chestnut was my friend
many was the time i admired this tree's graceful trunk and branches
while i waited for the security guards to come and open up the building
songbirds sometimes kept me company
as i waited outside on cold winter mornings
in the autumn i picked up the fallen conkers
or offered a half-opened case to a surprised student
watching her amazement as it yielded in her hand
and a shiny new conker rolled out
"you're the first person ever to see that conker!" i would say
what the horse chestnut's crime was i do not know
perhaps it was unstable and represented a health and safety risk
or it shaded light from the office windows
(it overlooked the south facade of the house)
perhaps its roots were undermining the asphalt
or the staff didn't appreciate the tiny dents
when conkers fell onto the roofs of their cars
perhaps i will never find out
why my old friend was murdered

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