Like Rain to Loosen

The buds of my father’s
cherry-bark oak
are rose-colored, curled
like boiled shrimp. The leap
to green comes later.
In the yard in my socks
and red skirt, my sweater
low on my shoulders
I grow flushed among his saplings.
We spend Saturdays together
talking about trees,
the only subject to grow
between us. I watch him
tend them, carefully tying
each small stick
to its own wire picket.
He moves to touch my hair
but stops, twists
a leaf into my lap
Be careful you don’t burn.
He means to say he loves me.
Like rain his words loosen
the maple seed pods clustered
above us. The air swims
with gold-set garnets.


Lisa Rhoades
from her book Strange Gravity
Bright Hill Press, 2004

Used with permission of the poet.

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