By: Liane St. Laurent
How to know a mulberry leaf
place a leaf in the hollow of your hand.
close your eyes and burn the shape to memory.
grow smaller, smaller yet—even more small
until you are cradled in the cleft of its cordate form.
stand up. follow the mid-rib highway.
turn left or right. it matters not—
all roads lead. close your eyes and burn
the curve of each lobe to memory.
walk north, then south. in then out
to the tip of each point. follow each serration
until you are dizzy and can no longer stand.
note the scent of rainfall on dry ground.
remember where you are. close your eyes
and burn the toothed margin to memory.
lie face down and stare into the tender leaf.
separate the layers with your eyes
and burn the green to memory.
If you are feeling overwhelmed it’s ok. cry.
What to expect when your sister is cremated
while you are cleaning out her drawers
(because her daughter can’t) she burns.
you make two piles: the wearable
and the unwantable. this is what it boils
down to: goodwill and garbage bags.
they say that solids turn to gas
when heated high enough: her eyes
her skin her hair the fat, but bone
remains and gets ground down
and given back. you read the facts.
you know what happens to the holy vessel
that rode shotgun in the car you drove
to where the phone poles end and when
you thought you were lost for good they appear
again, sturdy messengers along earthbound
roads where unheard voices hum.
Emerging poet Liane St. Laurent is an old dog learning new tricks. She has washed dishes, driven horse-drawn carriages, picked apples, taught English and is currently an IT professional. Her work appears in The Penmen Review and The Banyan Review. Liane lives in New Hampshire with her husband and their two dogs.