Ornamental Cherry Tree
by Stephen W. Leslie

When we bought the house your blossoms had just come out
Bold and white
Filling the picture window with brightness and light

For fourteen years we sat together
I on my meditation seat
You rooted deeply in the soil

Summer your dark green leaves sheltered me from the hot southern sun
Fall you blanketed the grass with color
Red and yellow
Winter you stood bare unadorned
Surrounded by a carpet of icy whiteness

But it was spring and your blossoms that lifted my heart
It was in spring that God visited me for the first time as we sat together
It was spring when I discovered what my heart was capable of
A shower of white petals celebrated my victory over fear
My reward for over two decades of effort

A year later alone in a little apartment
You blossomed unnoticed
Your rain of white petals imitating snow, unseen

When I came back my sacred room was empty
Except for you, waiting by my window

We sat together one last time
Head bowed
Cheeks wet

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