_They are not as fragile as she expects.
Most survive, burst from the trunks by summer.
They speak, she makes promises,
Strokes their glossy skin on the lower branches.
The days shorten. The rustling is constant.
Each hour there are new shapes to gather, kiss,
Place between tissue in plastic boxes.
The scrape of a nearby rake is maddening.
By November she is frantic,
Tiptoes over the lawn in slippers,
Stacks boxes high in the rooms of her house,
Papers the walls in yellow maple.
In the last days she shakes,
Doesn’t sleep, treks in and out of the doorway.
Once the door is locked she breathes deeply,
Chooses the strong ones,
Finds an empty space on the rug.
It is difficult to tie the stems. The result is dazzling.
They respond as she settles, bare-limbed,
Beneath the patchwork. For a long while,
No one is disturbed.

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