“Family Tree” by Merrijane Rice

… I will liken thee,
O house of Israel,
like unto a tame olive tree …
Jacob 5:3

I don’t remember
how we started,
who was grafted into whom,

who first strengthened roots
and tamed bitter thoughts
to tenderness.

But I believe the Master
planted us together,
left us alone a while

not to make us desperate,
but to give time for turning
toward each other

to nourish away weakness
before we wither.
He waits at the gate,

hand poised
midway between grief
and hope.