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Owens, Elisabeth, R. (ed.) / Encore: more of parallel press poets
(2006)

Funk, Allison
On pruning,   pp. 32-33


Page 32

 
On Pruning 
Cut it way back. 
Do not be afraid to pinch the first, 
the only blossom. The berry cannot thrive 
in freedom. Have no mercy, 
gardener. Train the tree to a leader 
crowned by the uppermost bud. 
Make ten o'clock your angle 
for the outstretched limbs 
of the apple. Prune 
when the knife is sharp, 
taking care that the scar be neat. 
To share the surgeon's belief in healing, 
you must trust what has been taken from you 
is a blessing. Trust 
by April the cherry and pear 
will fill in, stitching 
the dreamiest lace, punto in aria, 
think of it 
as a veil if you must. 
And the rose, this is a special case. 
When winter's close, cut back 
the tallest stems, then with soil 
topped with straw or leaves, bury the plant, 
make the mound as high as you can, 
as if the grave were your own 
impermanent home, as if you believed anything 
could bloom again. 
Allison Funk 
32 


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