Red Needles

Betrayed by rust-red needles, dead and dying ones
Hide among their brethren.
With idle time and a saw
I detect them amid the crowd
And cut them down
Capturing and killing insidious threats
Before retiring from the field
Wearing sawdust, gas fumes, imagined laurels
While outside the rust-red needles
Shaken loose from the fall
Add to the forest duff
And the still-standing brethren
Seem not to notice the gaps in their midst.