To Limn a Limbed Thing by Gillian Cummings

In this life, save the body

which is the fruit of many lives.

Espaliered pear: how heaviness

lavishes the twisted boughs with

sugary sustenance tamed taught

in gnarl and gold. You would hold this

autumn’s omen, press to chest a prayer:

that your life become bounteous, useful

as a gathering of pears dappled red.

Awaited, the gift of bindings, of trellised,

forced growth. Accustomed, the swept

azure. Why mourn sheltering shade?

God swoops like taloned rain.

God a bird in your branches.
Gillian Cummings is the author of The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter, selected by John Yau as the winner of the 2018 Colorado Prize for Poetry (forthcoming in November 2018) and My Dim Aviary, winner of the 2015 Hudson Prize (Black Lawrence Press, 2016). Her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Boulevard, The Journal, The Laurel Review, Linebreak, Verse Daily, and previously in Tupelo Quarterly. Her website is