on CAConrad's birthday,  2022
every year green ghost of temporary 
becomes skull and sullen
leaves shed
scatter every inhale with shatter --
also spring pokes its nose through / before
breath of sweet summer goes wild for winter

but yesterday
close to January
in wet December
I first saw a bush I never knew bore berries
push out sore tongues to experiment with air

this -- dear friend – is not imagination --
but it is
my picture of imagination / and I took it
for you --
the glister on this suburban bush
trimmed to no fruit and polite growing
showing red enough to bleed and tight to bursting

I whisper to these not yets
“it won’t hurt “
“well -- is worth hurt”
“worth bearing”

in this new and your next year / here is my blessing --
may you season your heart persistently / continue to see
new / emerging timelessly

Poem and image by Jo Mariner