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When you hear the wind
in the tops of the mulberries,
you say the Lord goes before us,
that wind means a landscape isn't still life,
that heather dances in colors
while seed scatters another story.

If a storm culls live limbs and green fruit
for the weight they cost the tree,
brings the cold indoors and thickens
the winter coats of animals,
you say it releases the moan
hidden in every bottle.

Tonight, mulberries stain your door posts
and remind me I haven't kept watch
like the purple apostles
sleeping in your overgrown garden.
I pick a honey locust pod off the ground,
suck the brown seeds and welcome the pulp
that asks nothing of me.

      — Deborah Q. Smith