There stands the gum tree in the middle of a school
in the middle of nowhere, Australia. A koala isn’t resting
in its branches, chewing nonchalantly on eucalyptus leaves.
No. They’ve been clinging onto life elsewhere, ever since the
white man came; chewing on his cigar; lungs filled with black
smoke and big ego; rifles with grey gunpowder pointed at the
gum trees; too primitive, too faded; peeling bark, skinny trunks,
drooping leaves must be shot out of their misery before they kill
the civilised folk
There stands the gum tree older than the time invented by ornamental
clocks and gold watches that know nothing of the nature of time,
like the teenagers in the schoolyard, who stick their chewing gum
within the crannies and crevices of wood that has withstood wars;
suffocating history as if it was a legacy to leave behind sugary spit
on leaves once used as medicine and to ease pain. But no leaf
could ever ease the gum tree’s pain when it watched its brothers
and sisters slaughtered senselessly; cut for colonial gain
If only the teens sticking their gum on the gum tree saw more than comical irony.