Sapling, you shoot roots in the shallow bucket
engorged with sharp bits of seed hulls
left by the squirrels, picked at by cardinals.
Your tender, slender stem, elongated spine,
extends from cracked dirt in a clay flower pot,
the old home of an expired aloe vera plant. Can your trunk
lengthen and thicken under the garden chair? Will raccoons
wrench you from your place and scatter your limp leaves
or twist them in play? Wash them in the water pan?
Your stubborn roots dig into the garden
on half-turned clumps of earth. A wretched end,
I tear you from the soil and toss you
into a pile of ivy shorn for mulch.
But you, irascible sapling, you
survive in stone.
©Poem and Image: Barbara Leonhard
Barbara Leonhard is a writer, poet, and blogger at Extraordinary Sunshine Weaver. Her podcast Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul explores universal themes such as Grief, Kindness, and Presence. She taught writing for many years at the University of Missouri and is the author of Discoveries in Academic Writing. She is also a regular contributor to Free Verse Revolution, Phoebe, MD: Poetry + Medicine (https://phoebemd.com/), and Go Dog Go Café.