There's a woodpecker
Pecking a hole in the branch
Of my tree. It is green,
Like a parrot. It has a red spot
On top of its blue cap.
It has a long beak, sharp-
Toc-toc-toc, it bores a hole
Easily into my tree. It is busy.

The boy who calls to me says:
Excuse me, Didi. Is this a club?
I am puzzled. “No,” I reply.
Are there so few trees left in Kathmandu
That any house with greenery
Resembles a club-house?
“Is this tree for sale?” he asks.
“I work with trees. I wanted to know
if you’d sell it.” What do you want
to do with it, I ask. I think he wants
to replant it in a special place, my two ton
tree. “I work in furniture,” he says.

“We could use the wood to make a bed.”
I can barely speak―I am upset.
But calmly I reply: “This tree is bug-eaten.
It won’t work for furniture. Besides, our water
Is drying out. We keep the tree because
It takes the water and plants it deep underground.
Water is already running out in this Valley.
This tree took fifty years to grow.
No this tree is not for sale.”
The boy is annoyed. He leaves abruptly.
Earlier, the woodcutters came and said
The same. Cut down these trees at once,
They said. They are rotten. They will fall
On someone. In truth,
The trees are in their prime of life
And will stand another fifty years.
But they wanted the wood to sell
And make a few thousand rupees.
And so I stand here, in the garden
Fending off woodcutters and furniture makers
Fending off young men too greedy to know
That water is more precious than a big motorcycle.