JM ( / )

The Olive Tree

Today I learned
how to translate the words
for bread and wine into another language,

to interpret the meaning
of the olive tree that was holding out
to the end for sunlight
just inside its Tuscan border,
each branch bearing
a heavy accent of leaves and fruit
as though each was a separate phrase
to be translated
into the humble meaning of salvation.

But to render a contradiction
using the harvest—by further definition
not in the verbal, but in its methods
to whip the branches clean,
or otherwise strip the fruit from the tree
as though the tree itself could hold fast and firm,
its leaves forgiving the damages done
with whatever is left for us
to interpret, to understand,

even as it is misunderstood.

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