A Patchwork of Trees
The red buds flash pink against hickories
as she gallops, breath rising white.
The boy circles back for her scarf.
Drapes it around her neck, pulls
her to his lips, horses nickering
beneath them, restless for the barn.
Playing teacups and saucers
roots, she lays
the table with acorns and caps
for baby dolls and ladies in finery.
Giving birth, she bears down, picturing
the oak, her breath the wind through branches.
With each contraction the roots deepening,
the canopy spread against sky.
The birch leaves blow green to silver
beside the church on her wedding day.
The limbs bear snow and a cardinal,
as they carry their firstborn to the altar,
celebrating his christening.
weighted with walnuts,.
sister gather fallen orbs.
Their hands stain black from ink.
Discarding the outer husks,
they crush shells between rocks,
hoard the nutmeats for Christmas fudge.
Come September, the colors
woods. Squirrels rustle,
among scarlet maples and poplars in gold,
to store their cache against winter.
She abandons chemotherapy in Phoenix,
takes the long flight home,
as the trees lose their grandeur,
leaves crumbling underfoot.