April 2013

The Scion

Without the gardener’s hand, the fig
tree’s bark would have crinkled,
leaves dried out and withered
in Eden’s strong handed sun.

As the tree spreads his branches
into the evening sky, stretches
out the wet cambium beneath the bark,
the empty chlorophyll sighs
of slumber overcome him. To free
him from this seedless end,
the gardener’s pruner snaps
off an unfolded limb. Sap
dribbles to the dandelioned
floor below and the gardener

snaps off a scion rib
from the innermost cluster
of branches. The gash scabs over
in a miracle of timber, loose branches
finger the callus tissue.

Fruit of his fruit, bark of his bark –

a clone emerges from the cutting,
steps away and thirsty for the April
rains, the heavy pollen breaths
of May. Soon fig buds drip and sag
from her outstretched fingers.
And that’s how it happened –

as the clone grew taller, her eyes
scanned the horizon just beyond
Eden– she longed to straddle
the branches, taste the ripening
of mangos, and climb the smooth
trunk high up past purgatory.

—Katherine Hoerth

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