Fathom Mag

The Family Tree

Fathom Poetry Contest Runner Up

Published on:
August 1, 2023
Read time:
2 min.
Share this article:

David Harris Hill II (Rusty) 

He was just a kid
swept up in a story
written for him
for the sake of a name
by kinfolk
farther up the family tree. 

I imagine him being born,
golden and star-like,
twisting free from a branch in early October.
But before the wind could give him flight
or the ground could give him rest,
he was caught and gathered up
by so many hands
and pressed between two pieces
of wax paper,
ironed smooth and framed,
beautiful, preserved, untouchable. 

He would never be
crunched under another kid’s tennis shoe
or pelted senseless by thunder’s hail
or left forgotten–brown, dry, and curling–
in the corner of the fenced-in yard.
But neither would he sail
untethered to chase his own story. 

Christopher (Butchie)

He was born the baby,
the first and last Missouri-born,
bursting forth beautiful and blond,
and far from the arms of the southern roots
where first-born glory
runs deep as the rings in the heart of a tree
and can circle a boy and bring him down.

Mother declared him her own,
but no branch could own him.
He caught the breeze early,
green, too impatient to wait for the fall
that would surely have drained the sap
from his veins.

Ever-young, he found his freedom in the wind,
over the fence,
past the bushes that lay on the other side,
inside other homes,
in other arms that could hold him closely
but loosely.
He found home in hands that learned how to
trace the shape of his soul–
always in motion,
always moving to the music of summer.

Sandra Deann (Sandee)

There, that’s me,
the one in between,
the one settled in to stay.

I am the January baby
who arrived right on time,
born to ever always be
punctual and
always the last to leave,
glad to be
my own kind of shape,
the girl in the front row
clutching a new notebook
filled with paper fresh and white
like fallen snow that
hides something growing underneath,
something about to show its colors.

Sights set on other skies were
put away for other seasons.
The years would wait
for this one garnet leaf,
this bit of jewel hanging on and on
despite winds that would whisk
the others far away.

Sandee Finley
Sandee Finley is a wife and retired homeschool teacher of five who is finding her voice, or at least the courage to share it, at age fifty-six. While poetry is her go to, she also writes essays, liturgies, and children’s stories. Recently transplanted from rural Missouri to suburban Kansas, she is thrilled to be a part of a community of female artists who encourage and nudge one another to step out and speak up as living gospel-bearers. You can follow her on Twitter.

Cover image by Cheryl Winn-Boujnida.

Next story