Milagro of a Sacred Heart and Three Beech Leaves, Each Mottled with Green and Crimson

Now the silverfish have eaten your sad dictionary.
Once you stood behind the counter,

ribbons in your hair, you measured and cut yardage
for the buxom ladies. And now a pile of Kleenex

rises by your elbow as you cope with your rhinitis.
You have become the remnants bin, hair lank

and thinning, nails blue with cyanosis.
It baffles you, doesn’t it? —how in the junkyard

of the heart, those hours, those days, still shine—
the week in the little fishing village, tables

on the sand, the anchovies and gardenias.
All gone, all gone. And now the mottled leaves.

But I tell you, you’re no minimum.
You’re peaches so tender they bruise

where they touch the sassafras bowl.
You’re silver-olive lichen on the willow oak tree,

moss between the bricks. Sweet ripening figs,
small turtle hiding in the grass, green field

and green ephemera. All these things are you.
And the chip and weave of birdsong after rain.

Ann Fisher-Wirth is an American poet and scholar, based at the University of Mississippi. She has won several teaching awards, including Liberal Arts Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Humanities Teacher of the Year, and the Elsie M. Hood Award.


  1. I have read and re-read this tender poem, and I have shared it with friends.

    I think / I know it’s the most beautiful, evocative poem in my sphere right now.

    Thank you, Ann Fisher-Wirth.

  2. What a profound expression of the heart’s view of another through the lens
    of the soul! How pure is the eye of the heart!

  3. Eye opening. Telling us we are “no minimum” as we age, but instead, are actually “ripe peaches” and lovely unpresumptuous “silver-olive lichen” residing on a tree. Thank you!

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