I used to be a tree.
On a slope, standing among a mighty host, tall and straight, all of us together. We were a forest, whispering in the wind, speaking of the stars.
I was not made by hands. I made myself, pulling life from the ground itself. Tiny bits of stone, I constructed my body out of grains of earth, building it cell by cell. From a tiny blade of green to a mighty tower.
I used to be a tree, living, growing, and then I was cut down.
Now I stand alone, still tall, but no longer breathing. There are others, we are a marching line, but we do not speak. I have no needles to whisper in the wind. I have no branches, only strange wood nailed across my face. It bears the long, leafless vines that stretch for miles, my heavy burden that I bear.
We are a row of bones. You do not see us, beside this river of black stone, where flows life and death.
I have no bark. Stripped, my only clothing a few bits of shiny metal, nailed on, marked with symbols, and sometimes tattered papers.
I used to be a tree, but now I am replanted, rootless, driven into the ground. Sometimes the birds still come, to rest on the cables. Sometimes, when the wind is high, I almost have a voice.
In the forest I would have died just the same, but in the forest I would have fallen to the ground. My tower would have crumbled back into dust, then waited eons to be formed again, my elements to rise living once more.
I can never go back. I have been poisoned, so that nothing will gnaw me, nothing will bore into me. I stand here preserved, with black tar drawn out of my sides.
But wind and rain will have their way. Someday I will be too weak to hold up these cables, the thick black snakes that crackle and hiss so softly that I only I can hear them. Someday again I will be cut down.
Then I will be good for nothing but to be buried away from light and air, in an endless pit of garbage, never to rise again.
Or maybe I will burn. Yes, I am good enough to burn. Then I will become smoke and ash, and some of me, some particle, may rise into the atmosphere, closer to the stars, and travel around the world, spreading through the air, until at last some atom of me may fall into a forest on a mountain slope, and wait for eons before some root takes it up.
And again, at last, be part of a tree.