Back where I lived before,
They were called sweetgum trees,
Though what was sweet about them
Was beyond me. The huge one at our
Neighbor’s dropped prickly seed balls
Over three backyards, not to mention
The desiccated leaves and stray twigs.
The balls took forever to decay, in
The meantime punishing bare feet
And serving to twist ankles when
Those with shoes on stepped on the
Outliers on area sidewalks and pavement.
One year someone figured out that
You could spray gum balls with silver
Paint and tuck them into holiday wreaths.
A large expense of time and money for
A rather shabby looking result, I thought.
It took a while before I got the spelling
Correct in this locale–a single word,
With two ‘a’s in the second half.
In the right light, though, when nothing
Else in this near-desert landscape is
Colorful, the leaves can live up to their name.