In the branches of the cherry tree

Mother Cabrini is only a child.
Born two months premature,
she shows her sister her visible heartbeat,
how it flutters the skin between her breasts.

With so many small coffins buried
in the orchard, it is not difficult
to begin praying for bodies

and find they have turned into trees.
Mother Cabrini counts the twigs
as fingers of her lost brothers until

it is spring again, and again
the arbor becomes a cathedral,
sweet fruit a gift from what must have been God.

Each cherry pit is the hard soul of a sister.
She buries them next to the graves.

Rebecca Valley is a poet and writer living in Olympia, Wash. Her poems have been featured or are forthcoming from a number of magazines, including Rattle, NECK Press Review, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry. She is the editor-in-chief of Drizzle Review, a book review site with a focus on minority authors and books in translation, and the poetry editor at The Drowning Gull. During the daylight hours she works as a middle school librarian.


Jayne Marek‘s photos have appeared in publications such as Camas, Sliver of Stone, Gyroscope, Central American Literary Review, Peacock Journal, New Mexico Review, Blast Furnace, and Gravel, among others.

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