Sanctuary

The backyard holds me–
like the mother who never was.
Arms around my back,
my head laid on an emerald shoulder.

Tall wooden slats in the fence
stand guard, unlike my father.
All three gates are latched,
so the trees and I are alone.

I dream against gnarled roots,
highway to the underground,
forging kinship with the soil,
sink down into the earth’s embrace.

Let down my own thick tap root,
lift a greening stem up through the dark,
orphaned no longer,
lift leaf-hands, cupped, to meet the sun.

Elise Stuart

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