So Many Seeds

—“what didn’t you do to bury me/
but you forgot that I was a seed”

– – Dinos Christianopoulos

I. trumpet vine
pod split down the middle
dugout canoe
divested of seed cargo
by wind, gravity and goldfinches
carry me through
the twisting unpredictable waters
that threaten to swamp me
bear me up, tell me
the mysteries of seeds

II. desert willow
flags fluttering empty
like dry desert skies
the dusty land
but over there one
holds tight its future
here, one partially split open
spills into my hands
seeds like rain drops
wrapped in cottony strands—
fuzzy memories of monsoons
embryonic dreams
of next year’s seedlings

III. piñon
cone exploded open
sticky scales wide
like a crusty chrysanthemum
sap from the prickle of its umbo
sticks to my fingers now as I write
a single nut rattles
between the petals of this stiff flower
the other nuts stolen and buried
by a crafty pinyon jay, but forgotten
will put down roots and push up
something old yet new

IV. locust
pod burnt black by the sun
a sickle moon
has lost its grip on heaven
a spent boomerang
fallen to earth
but when I pick it up
beneath its curved spine
a full belly that rattles
with the rhythm
of a new music

V. Arizona cypress
unlike a cone most of us recognize
more like a partially open
yet still mysterious
Chinese puzzle box
which knob should I press
which piece should I twist
to release the secrets of the universe?

VI. sycamore
balls hang in their tree galaxy in winter
like miniature planets
now that all the starry leaves
are gone nova
blown away by some solar wind
every planet comprises myriad
tiny spikes driven to the core
each spike pierced by a barb—
a fuse ready to be lit
awaiting some explosion
to blow its world apart

VII. rose
hip, a swollen ovary
wrinkled like a much-used paper sack
drawn together with string
its tattered edges spread above the pinch-point
to form a five-pointed star
the remnant of last year’s petals—
a faded ribbon adorning
the treasure wrapped beneath

VIII. hesperaloe
origami box
nods on slender stem—
a paper-folded fortune teller—
but because it is a lily
it has only three pockets
rather than four of childhood game
each split in half
to look like six
and no matter what number
is chosen, the result
is the same
in the recesses of each pocket
a stack of black seeds—
the only fortune any of us
will ever need



Poem by Janet Ruth


Janet Ruth is a NM ornithologist. Her writing focuses on connections to the natural world. She has recent poems in Oddball Magazine, Tulip Tree Review, The Ocotillo Review, Sin Fronteras, Spiral Orb, Ekphrastic Review, and anthologies including Moving Images: poetry inspired by film (Before Your Quiet Eyes Publication, 2021) and New Mexico Remembers 9/11 (Artemesia Publishing, 2020). Her first book, Feathered Dreams: celebrating birds in poems, stories & images (Mercury HeartLink, 2018) was a Finalist for the 2018 NM/AZ Book Awards.