We had driven the holiday garbage a quarter of a mile
to toss in the nearby apartment complex's dumpster.
Wrapping paper, used paper plates, broken plastic silverware
sitting next to crumbled aluminum cans and Christmas cards.
There we left the plastic tree that my family had used
every Christmas for thirty-eight years.
Its trunk was a bent stick of wood, about the size of a broomstick.
The tiny green slivers of plastic that were once pine needles
had started falling off about two decades or so ago.
The tree itself would lean, not
from the weight of the ornaments, but
from the weight of so many years.
From raising two kids and being stored eleven months out of the year in a brown moving box.
From hanging tiny orbs from its branches and
from having the giant five-pointed star sits on its head for so many years;
driving more nails into an ever-widening hole.
I can remember throwing the box unceremoniously into the bin,
thinking the last person in our family to touch it should feel sympathetic,
to be sorry the tree is being abandoned.
To feel something.