Foxtail Fern

When my wife and I got married,
we saw all our presents
scattered over our living room floor
when we pulled back in
from our honeymoon.

The lights were out,
but even in the dark,
silhouetted against the
fireplace
stood, stark as night,
a foxtail fern,
sprightly and uprightly
waving in the shadow.

A fern. I thought.
Well, it won't make salsa.
But, my wife, dropped my hand
and lowered herself to the side of this fern.

"Is this?" She muttered, and looked to me.
"I don't know." I said.
She ran a hand over the foliage and
took the card from its envelope.

For minutes, she kept her eyes
locked on the card.
When she joined me
back over the threshold,
she turned me to
face her constellation

"This fern was raised by my great-grandmother.
It has lived in her house while the
hammers fell on the west-bound train tracks.
It lived with her while the great furnaces
pumped out the Atlantic.
It lived with her while the Germans
forced their iron fist in Poland
and beyond.
This lived with my grandmother
while the bombs fell on Nagasaki,
while she held the hand of my
grandfather when his eyes slowly
slipped to the darkest of nights.
It found its place beside her
wedding bands on her nightside
table, and when the summer breeze
lifted the curtains
it shook from the thrill of it.
This fern was watered by my
mother's hands,
and her hands held mine while
I cried over my first love and
last heartbreak,
and now.
Now this fern is here, to wish us
a happy marriage
as long and full as it's leaves."

I knelt beside her that night,
and we made love as the stars
circled our heads.

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