Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sisters

dedicated to my Sista Poet, Dani.

I've always been hungry for female company,
Having grown up with none
Save for my own.

(You'll ask, where was my mother?
My mother was crocodile;
I spent my days hiding.)

I used to daydream that I was some sort of Grand Duchess,
Speaking a language with hard R's, and sipping lemonade on the porch of a dacha.
I would have a thousand sisters.
The men would wear uniforms and do vague things
Always at a distance,
Unless we needed admiring.
Then, they would be lavish,
And we would feign indifference.

I still haven't any sisters,
But I have a yard full of wild mulberry trees.
Botanist, sit down.
Don't bore me with sexing the greenery--
I know what I know about the souls of things,
And my mulberries are female.

At first there was only one.
She barely touched the lowest edge of the garage roof,
But over time, she became tall and beautiful.
When the big prideful locust behind us fell in a storm,
She was ready to fill the empty place, to take the sun and protect us,
Like an older sister doing what needs done
And doing it smoothly
While swaying to a song on the radio.

There are two near the windows. 
They gossip;
I love their nosy, familiar companionship.

Two others love the side fence.
They are the restless ones--
They wear birds from all over, and lean to visit our neighbor next door,
Though he is an idiot who sometimes hurts them for their efforts.
I walk out to them, when this has happened,
And mother them
In soft tones.

Finally, there is my mulberry closest to the house--
Practical men with pick-up trucks have advised me to remove her,
But I cherish her.
In weaker days, I cut her down twice--
I am not proud of having done it.
She grew back each time, and never mentioned what I had done.
She is Russian, I feel certain, and knows me better than I know myself;
But these days,
I listen better.

In summer, I drink lemonade in her shade, while she prefers rain water.
She is our graceful matriarch--
I and the other mulberries are her girls.
So, you see?
Some wishes do come true,
Even if a little differently than I used to imagine.
_____
for Kenia's Wednesday Challenge at Real Toads.

 

22 comments:

nene said...

Love mulberries and I think the spirit of your metaphor to make the vines your muchly desired sisterhood was fun.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Hmmmm.. how deeply satisfying this poem is - this rendering of the mulberry trees into the poetry they already are.

Lynn said...

If my mother was a crocodile, I'd be watching, too. You have quite the imagination, FB. :)

Sioux said...

How wonderful to have such an embracing group of sisters surrounding you.

Hannah Stephenson said...

Ah, your voice is so serene and compelling here.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh you KNOW how much I love this poem! I so know, about the wonder of female companionship, so comfortable and comforting, the men vaguely off doing something - I should have heeded that in my teenage daydreams - wanting the house, the babies, the faceless man off at a distance somewhere). I love your description of these wonderful beings, their varied personalities. Love the Russian references too. I believe I once was a Russian woman in the Gulag. I have been chilly all this lifetime, need to keep things warm, with lots of fleecy blankets. I love this poem, Shay. Love it.

Lolamouse said...

So glad your wishes came true. And trees are so much more pleasant to be around than sisters from what I hear!

TexWisGirl said...

sweet! sisterhood with the trees - nothing better...

hedgewitch said...

A very well worked metaphor all through, satisfying and mulberry sweet. I think mulberries are one of those trees that are self-fruitful, having both male and female flowers that cross pollinate,which in a way is what you're going for, but as you say, why drag in science, when the music of the heart, and its constant regrowth and self-replenishing nature is the joy of the lesson to be learned here.

Mama Zen said...

Of course, they are female! Love this, Shay.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

This was beautiful and thoughtful. I have many books and record albums (look it up, if necessary) that I've taken from place to place as erstwhile siblings, so I get it.

Lovely, this was. - Mosk

Laurie Kolp said...

Love the personification of the trees... you are truly amazing in that you always create such unique, vivid images; bring your poetry to life.

Margaret said...

I am in AWE of this poem... I won't copy and past because it would be the whole wonderful thing! I think this is my very, very favorite of yours that I have read. I want my daughter to read this poem (she is a visual artist high school student (boards) at a college nearby) ... I'd love to see if this inspires her to paint something over the summer. (If you don't mind)

Shawna said...

Favorite stuff:

"The men would wear uniforms and do vague things
Always at a distance,
Unless we needed admiring."

"Botanist, sit down.
Don't bore me with sexing the greenery--
I know what I know about the souls of things,
And my mulberries are female."

"They are the restless ones--
They wear birds from all over, and lean to visit our neighbor next door,
Though he is an idiot who sometimes hurts them for their efforts."

rosemarymint.wordpress.com

Joanna Jenkins said...

In a word-- terrific. I liked this a lot and could see your trees clearly in my mind.
Okay, that more than one word, but it's still terrific!
xo jj

Kim Nelson said...

The crocodile mother... brilliant way to make this point. And all those sister-trees would be my companions as well. I prefer such female company to the human sort most of the time, so this poem felt like homecoming.

HermanTurnip said...

I still have nightmares about the tree in the movie Poltergeist. That thing was *nothing* like a mulberry...

Hannah said...

Speaking a language with hard R's, and sipping lemonade on the porch of a dacha....

I love how that line worded out. I really like your take, embodying the mulberry. Very entertaining read with the different meandering places you took us, thank you!

Ella said...

I love this poem, it has magical qualities! It makes me want to lean against my cherry tree and sway under her cascading blooms~

myheartslovesongs said...

the poem itself is beautiful... i love the way you see the trees as sisters, each with their own personality.

and you know you brought tears to my eyes with your dedication ~ i am BEYOND honored ~ and we ARE sisters in spirit and in soul {birthed by the evil twin crocodile mothers} ~ THANK YOU for this, i will treasure it always. {i hope you don't mind if i print it out and frame it.}

much *Love* and endless *Hugs*
forever my Sista Poet ♥

Herotomost said...

Damn...I need some mulberry trees...all I have I have is one sexually confused anorexic pecan tree.......But it can play a hell of game of spades. All kidding aside....you have the greatest feel for subject matter and its placement in the world. I know, not original....but....Loved it!

Mary said...

This is one of the neatest poems. I am glad you found your sisters in the trees. So many interesting personalities, but definitely not overshadowed by your own. When I was growing up, I wished for a big brother to protect me...in the days before I realized I could protect myself. LOL.