Scotch Pine Elegy · Thad DeVassie

It is new season, an old routine for you, Scotch pine,
our disposable icon of gluttonous holiday excess,
assured to suffer a death by neglect and overworked thermostats.

The Immaculate Conception, in its miniature ceramic splendor,
recreates The Greatest Story Ever Told beneath the skirt
of your limbs, quarantined behind the gifts where it’s difficult

to see the promise of eternal life. The strands of lights fit
like a straitjacket, choking out your color and exposing
the gaping holes in what remains of your composure.

Now, stripped of the care you were given just weeks ago,
long before the hacksaw and twine, you are hauled to the curb
still tinseled, still artificially festive. Discolored and

zombified posture projects you as the brittle Frankenstein
of conifers, but even the bolts secured to your base
have been reclaimed. Now, as the men who are paid

to remove your feeble remains from the gutter go about
their business, we’re left to wonder if this idea of sacrifice,
in all of its well-disguised traditions, still speaks to anyone.

Thad DeVassie is the author of This Side of Utopia (forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press). His work has appeared in Poetry East, New York Quarterly, North American Review, West Branch, NANO Fiction, PANK, and Unbroken, among others. A lifelong Ohioan, he is the founder of a brand messaging + storytelling studio in Columbus, and is the co-founder of JOY VENTURE, a podcast and platform for sharing stories of unlikely and risk-taking entrepreneurs.