Karen Paul Holmes
If You Plant a Bradford Pear
Plant five in a line
along a road in Georgia
against a February sky
with clouds melding into light-
clusters of white flowers
will foretell spring, petals will fall
instead of snow.
Plant them against an October blue,
a chest-gripping blue, near where
the black-silver river brews rocks.
Where—like these trees
on the shortcut to Canton—
they’ll present autumn’s gamut:
four Bradfords variegated
green, purple, bronze-red.
The fifth, a crimson upturned heart.
Every season they will sway
psalms for you, keep you mindful
of your four siblings
who stood by you in your blaze.
Karen Paul Holmes has a full-length poetry collection, Untying the Knot (Aldrich Press, 2014). Other work has appeared in Poetry East, Atlanta Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and the Southern Poetry Anthology Vol 5: Georgia (Texas Review Press). To support fellow writers, Holmes originated and hosts a critique group in Atlanta and Writers’ Night Out in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She teaches writing workshops in various venues including the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina.