it was likely sometime surrounding
the Winter holidays, though you are presently unsure.
a time of year for gifts; ribbon of smile,
shudder of tear. your sadness was ripe,
resplendent Winter fruit. It blossomed,
aggregated fleshy drupelets.
not a wine berry though certainly close
kin to the blush of drink. you spoke to him, a friend,
through blue sigh of cell phone.
he thought to ask you,
“are you ok?”
even from the hollow of text message
you knew his question was not benign.
and you, a man of cliched celebratory sadness
and ripe Winter fruit, not a berry
but a cluster of drupelets,
were then not ok. Wavering
on the faded edge of leaving.
He did not ask you to stay,
but you stayed. A sister
of yours nearly did not stay and
you spent years after afraid
of a ringing phone. It is not now
Winter, though maybe it is. The fruit
is again ripening and you ask
me to stay.
stay with your pain and stay
with your sorrow. stay with torn roots, stay
with the wither, stay with the blossom. stay
with who you are and stay with who you will someday be.
do not abide those who abuse you, and stay
in the quiet of your querulous company
when the abuser is you. do not grow wooden
with the thorn that persists, as you parse
through Winter vines and Summer stalks. trying
to tend to ripening fruit.