The hard, hot summer sun runs away
Under fat, flat Mulberry leaves.
Fruitless Mulberry, my mother says.
Back in spring, fuzzy green almost-fruits
Like caterpillars carpeted the grass below.
The wide, cool Mulberry leaves, now bigger than my hand
Loiter on small branches, away from the trunk and main limbs
In a most considerate way, in my climbing tree.
The lowest limb, just the right height
With smooth, benign bark.
I lace my fingers together over the limb
Walk my bare feet up the trunk,
Swing my leg over and sit in the low spot,
The resting spot where you sit
The first time you climb.
The place you sit, before you know the three main ways.
Left leads to the blackberry patch
Sweet, ripe perfume, buzzing bees safely below.
Middle goes out over the lawn, ideal for spying.
Right curves along the house, a leafy bridge to the roof.
I drape myself across the lowest limb
Lay down my cheek, arms languid, legs dangling.
Barely-there breeze stirs my hair,
Sways me and my branch just a little.
Leaves tap together like rain.
This poem first appeared in Peeks & Valleys magazine.
It won first place prize for free verse poetry in the Olympiad of the Arts 2002.
Used here with the author’s permission.