The Seeds of the Red Maple

by Burt Kimmelman

Burt Kimmelman

Overnight, the red maple in our backyard,
provider of shade when leaves are full and days
are hot, and of majesty even when bare
in winter, has let go of its seeds, now at
mid summer, in the joy of light and
grief of time taking its inevitable
shape, the season giving in to its own pulse,
the maple's colors soon to turn once again.

The tree's fruit keys * are everywhere, in grass and
shrubs and covering the patio flagstones
and table at which I write this poem, their
strange green casings joined to one another as
if in an eternal kiss, their oddly shaped
wings, whose reticulate filaments emerge
out of a leathery spine, mimicking the
half moon, its glow doing the dark's secret work.

Children, splitting the husks open to find the
sticky pith within (which squirrels love to eat
raised up on haunches, forepaws in a flurry,
their frantic chewing the hint of an autumn
recklessness when winter food must be stored), fix
the wings to their noses so they are marked as
people of the tree, yet other seeds will fly
free, taking their tenacious hold in the soil.

Last updated June 02, 2016