The Mulberry Tree

Jeremy Lowe

 

“O’ where shall we go?”

 

To which,

The Mulberry Tree shook with woe.

 

And so I went about

Picking berry

After berry,

Purplin’ my heels 

With deep,

             Endless stains.

Surely,

             I thought,

                         This moment will never end. 

 

But the sun continued to roll 

Over a far Carolina sky.

The Field chased after it

With gentle grass

Waiting,

             Waiting,

                         On the horizon.

 

I sought to chase it too,

To catch its warmth

Over bronze skin and wanting eyes;

To know I’m home.

 

But I knew I could never,

Not yet, 

For a young man 

Has much running left to do. 

 

And so I returned to a love

With hands full of berries,

stained lips and

A smiling heart.

 

We ate berry

             After berry

Under sight of the Mulberry Tree

With memories made 

             And memories

                         yet to come. 

 

Those memories of mulberries

Sent me back five years,

Where I first tasted

             Their terse, 

                         brittle sweetness.

 

I would often skip class

Under the May heat,

In sight of the Mulberry Tree

And a joyful carpentry teacher. 

 

We’d stain our hands

And laugh at nothing,

Simply to laugh.

             O’ how I long 

                         for those days.

 

His leathered hands,

No longer weighed by 

Wood, 

             work, 

                         or worries,

But rather lifted 

                         by youth.

 

Days of youth

With an old carpentry teacher,

Knowin’ the spirits of silliness

             And laughter

                         Light the sun.

 

                                     O’ how I long for those days.

 

Now,

That carpentry teacher rests

In whole, still, gifted silence.

Laughter and light 

does not lead a long life,

                                     But one well spent.

 

Now, 

I question my own youth

Under sight of the Mulberry Tree.

             “O’ where shall I go?”

 

I’d worn it thin,

Ran towards the edge of the Field

In chase of the sun,

             In chase of more.

 

When the chase is done,

                                     What’s next?

 

These dreams of Light, 

of opportunity, was

Never to lie in Pikeville,

                                     So I ran.

 

Across the field of

Newborn grass and brief breeze,

The Mulberry Tree stands knowin’

             By youth there is

       

                                     Nowhere to go,

                                     But somewhere to be.