If your home is near a park, you’ll live longer.
If there’s a plant in your hospital room, you’ll need fewer Tylenol 3s.
If you walk in a forest, you will sleep more deeply.
If you watch ducks float downriver under trailing willow branches, your distance vision will improve.
If you take note of the particular sound the wind makes in each kind of tree,
your brain fog will lift and your memory will grow more acute.
If city crews cut down an old elm, the final thud of the trunk falling will make your chest contract.
If you ride on a path lined with fallen leaves on All Saints’ Day, the rolling of your bike tires will count off names, a dry recital of the ones you’ve lost: brown, tan, russet, ochre.
If you come out to the lake, you’ll see the little birch we planted.
Copyright © Joanne Epp. Originally published on Lemon Hound (lemonhound.com) and also appears in Heartwood: Poems for the Love of Trees (League of Canadian Poets, 2018).
Joanne Epp has published a chapbook Crossings, 2012 and a fulllength poetry collection Eigenheim (Turnstone Press, 2015). She lives in Winnipeg.