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A Patchwork of Trees
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Small Branches Poetry

 A Patchwork of Trees

 

         

 

I.

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.

 

II.

Playing teacups and saucers

among  mossy 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.

 

III.

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.

 

IV.

 Beneath branches weighted with walnuts,.

 brother and 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.

 

V.

Come September, the colors

change  the 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,  lingers

as the trees lose their grandeur,

leaves crumbling underfoot. 

 

 

 

 

Amy Unsworth
from Seeding the Snow, Fall/Winter 2002