The Grapevine by Katie Hoerth

The Grapevine

Every story is the same – there’s life,
there’s death, then life again, and now it’s spring –
the season where my husband tends his grapevine,
runs the newest tendrils through the fingers
of one hand and holds his pruning sheers
within the other. Green is everywhere –
the canopy, the stems, the tiny buds,
but most of all, the leaves, the size of palms
and fingers reaching out in offering.

These rustling limbs are shelter for the weary:
ladybugs that come like beggars, always
hungry, fireflies that need some respite
from the sun and wait for night to dawn,
to cover up their faces, set them free,
and me, who comes in curiosity.

His clippers shush the choir of kisskadees;
the thumping of a branch against the earth
resounds across the yard and takes my breath.

How is it that I only see the death
in this, can’t understand the simple fact
that life must river from dismembered limbs
in order to enjoy the summer’s fruits?
He snaps the branches to a naked trunk,
a lifeless shell of what it used to be.

It’s what you have to do, he says, once done,
and turns the garden hose on when I ask,
If you want this water turned to wine.

by Katie Hoerth, from Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots.

Editor’s Note: Sometimes you read a poem, and for some inexplicable reason, it sounds as smooth as sweet wine. You read it again. Again. Finally, it dawns on you—this poem is blank verse (iambic pentameter: one of my favorite devices.)

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