The Cherry Tree
Out of the nursery and into the garden where it rooted and survived its first hard winter, then a few years of freedom while it blossomed, put out its first tentative branches, withstood the insects and the poisons for insects, developed strange ideas about its height and suffered the pruning of its quirks and clutters, its self-indulgent thrusts and the infighting of stems at cross purposes year after year. Each April it forgot why it couldn't do what it had to do, and always after blossoms, fruit, and leaf-fall, was shown once more what simply couldn't happen. Its oldest branches now, the survivors carved by knife blades, rain, and wind, are sending shoots straight up, blood red, into the light again. David Wagoner