There comes a point when the wild fruits
are unknowable, their small heads turning
away from us when the wind is right and warm,
the night in its hammock swinging the grouse to sleep.
To know buckthorn is to know the belly of a bear,
the black flesh made new, the black path
to the ice trees where cloud is breath...is salt...is swan.
(And the quiet plum won’t say a word.)
The dwarf pine blossoms only after fire.
This is not a fruit but a way of disappearing,
a flame caught red-handed in the infinite brown grass
where the poison ivy lives, itself a fruit for starling
and wren, and for the skin of mouths our bodies
speak of: blister, ooze and forgivable sin.
All rights reserved. Reprinted with the permission of the author.