Oxydendrum arboreum by Rosemary Royston

“I never seen bees go crazy like they do on sourwood,”  -Foxfire 2

Lily of the Valley tree
Long, glossy leaves 
dark green in summer, scarlet in fall.
Chew but don’t swallow
to quench your thirst.

Best bee tree
Your flowers are called angel fingers
and bees flock to you, buzzing.
Your honey is the long sweetening kind
not the short of sorghum.

Sorrell tree
Acidic soil and shallow roots
make for curved trunks
to shape into tool handles, bed posts. 
Cut a limb the height of an asthmatic
child, and place the limb under the doorstep.
Once the child outgrows the limb,
the asthma will disappear.

Rosemary Royston, author of Splitting the Soil (Finishing Line Press, 2014), resides in northeast Georgia, with her family. Her flash fiction and poetry have been published in journals such as NANO Fiction, Appalachian Heritage, Southern Poetry Review, Kudzu, Town Creek Review, and *82 Review. She’s the VP for Planning and Research at Young Harris College, where she teaches the occasional creative writing course.

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