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.
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.