—The Eclectic Muse, Volume 16, Christmas 2010, page 36
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Among the fallen leaves of summer’s wane
My mother found a pinecone; worries strung
Her hands so tight she made me hold its stem.
The outdoors should be kept outdoors, and so,
Reluctantly, I palmed the rough brown spikes,
Imperfectly bent, twisted into itself.
Its beauty grabbed my mother’s senses red,
But all I saw was ugly pine of fall.
A decade did it lay among some shells
On brick and board, beside the glaring box
My mother seldom watched. Its husbandry
I questioned, resented. Stares, avoided. Time
And handling crushed and chipped away its armor.
But buried under all, a planted seed
Emerged; its meaning now I see has place:
Its subtle labors raised sweet pine of strength.