Just Toxic Enough

Sometimes I feel overcrowded
and wish to be more like a
black hickory tree—
the kind of selectively antisocial tree whose
toxins
wither almost everything near it
to give it space
so it can grow its foliage
(without throwing shade)
and grow its roots
(without groping)
and drop its nuts
(without worrying about
the consent of whomever
is actively feeling up its
hardwood
from down below).
It is not “manspreading”
or
“mansplaining”,
and it doesn’t make me a pig
or even a
pignut,
nor is it crass cynicism—
it is just a want of
personal space
and some quiet solitude
and natural boundaries
as I keep to myself
to avoid the eager whine of the chainsaws
and the hungry woodchippers.

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