You planted them when seven -
carving out the soil in minute scoops,
gazing at the taut, white roots
as I dropped the plants into the earth.
You tended them with care until thirteen,
reaping the tart fruit
in small purple handfuls. Then
they went a little wild.
After the first year of college
you work on your knees, like a supplicant
serving an ancient altar,
clipping away the woody branches
grown intricate through the ivy,
and with patient fingers trace
the soft shoots onto a new trellis
tying each in place, as if it were the food
that would feed you for years to come.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society