Saplings at the cinema
Watching the horror film,
“The Monster that Ate the South,”
Scream at the terror.

They see great green ghosts,
Multiplying out of control,
Covering trees large and small
Unstoppable as Godzilla.

Herbicides, mowers, bushhogs
Useless against them.
They haunt the Interstates of Alabama
Mile after mile
Of chlorophyllic ectoplasm
Looming on the sides
Of the highway.

“Import them: they’re beautiful,” people said.
“Good for fighting erosion,” they said.
Beautiful in spring,
But winter shows their true character.
Skeletal and ugly.

As harmless to humans as Casper.
But to the trees
Deadly as any ghoul,
Suffocating them
More slowly, more patiently
Than any movie villain.