Barbara L. Thomas


Pods of the Northern Catalpa
litter the landscape

bronzed and varnished as if of leather.
In a flicker of sunlight a pale lime seedling

seems to drift into view. My impulse,
to gouge stem and yolk from its mooring,

yank a two-winged thing from a nursery
of unblemished sand soft as a child’s chemise.

Rózsa, the Johnny Appleseed
of leathern seedpods, counts her cache,

one for each of her spring-break classmates,
while her sister, swinging from her perch

on a yellow twig, spies the red-winged blackbird.
It is the grandmother who bequeaths

her own sighting to a prayer
of the spirit for a robust greenling-

a Johnny-jump-up, perhaps a soaring goliath,
eighty feet from seed to crown,

first the bud
and then the flower.

Barbara L. Thomas, born high in the Cascades in 1927, came to poetry late, past sixty. Lilacs Wilting on Nancy’s Bonnet/ A Cherokee Narrative, nominated for Pushcart Prize & the Bumbershoot Literary awards, 2001, was published by the Blue Begonia Press: a limited edition, hand bound, numbered and signed.