Sunday, June 21, 2009

B. J. Kussow's poem, published in MAIN CHANNEL VOICES, June 2009:


The woebegone Boston fern
I unceremoniously dumped
in the woods near our backyard

my husband rescued with an injured
air and hung in a place of honor
from a limb of the decorative apple tree.

Now in its second season the fern still
mostly a matted tangle of roots and straw
mocks me with its few tenacious fronds.

The Canadian hemlock failed to thrive
more brown than green last year, a scrawny
specimen among five vigorous peers

I suggested a warranty replacement.
“Give it time,” he replied, and I thought
“Oh, do we have to go through this again?”

This spring the tree is a gangly adolescent
challenging nature with a layer of lush new
growth, accusing me of shortsightedness.

The blue spruce has a different history.
Bred for special service, a living Christmas
tree. We took it from its element, bestowed

it with our glitter, celebrated it yet burdened it,
exploited it not noticing as its needles dried
and shriveled. Were we guilty of neglect?

Then, we thrust it back into the cold, familiar
earth where it struggled under our common
watch, finally becoming a tree for more seasons.