I am owed a thousand kisses:
mistletoe devours every axil,
sprouting green and pearl
Host tree weakened by choking zarza,
the parasite takes toehold and moves.
The only remedy: serrated half-moon
pruning saw and tough
My arms are a maze of weals nonetheless
and splinters shiv my knuckles;
the pain a small penance
for hardtooth pleasure of slicing deep
through green wick.
I imagine her half child eyes as I cut:
were they closed for that first kiss
or widened in surprise?
Such a harmless thing, just a bit
How is it that these things take root?
Am I the climbing vine that choked
and twined and sucked
resistance out so you in weakness
Now ruthless kind I cut,
remove each trace and prune
the green from every leafless stem.
They say it may take years
to fruit again.
Reduced now down to almost bare
and barren looking branch,
I glimpse the hints of new growth:
healthy furl of barely infant buds
and breath of light.