The Pruning

The late days of winter yawn
and stretch and bed themselves down
for a few seasons, content to retire.

And the blood in the cherry tree
quickens its pace as the garden awakens
from a snowy dream
and everything greens up with the sunlight
which lingers a minute or so more
than the day before.

And you came by to prune the fruit trees
which had been left to grow unchecked
and were, to you, unwieldy, and in need
of some curbing, lest they get to thinking
that they can just do as they please.

It is, after all, your garden.

I came out later and felt a bit shocked
by the severity of the cutting—
but more than that, as I sat alongside
the cherry tree and looked over
its many limbs now sprawled
on the ground, I noticed the tiny stubs
which would have been blossoms,
now frozen in time, halted forever
from their natural course
of blooming and bearing fruit.

Like dozens of tiny tombstones
from a century or two ago, with
epitaphs about young women
who died while carrying the unborn;
the unrealized and unlived.

I noticed how many buds
were there, all up and down
the dark branches, and I wondered
what happens to that surging life
when you cut off the limbs.

Does the life from the bud run
backwards along the branch
in some misguided attempt to find safety,
until it reaches an abrupt exit,
bleeding out until the pulsing stops?

Or does the severed end
send an emergency message,
hastening the energy at breakneck pace
toward the bud for its swan song,
as if to say, Bloom, damn it!
This is your last chance.
Bloom while you can.

Claire Juno, © 2013