Anne Frank’s Tree

A fourteen-year-old girl—
on tip-toe in the attic—
saw the huge horse-chestnut,

Westerkerk tower, and the random
flight of gulls. “Our tree
is in full blossom . . . even

more beautiful than last year,”
she wrote, on May 13th,

A nightingale once built
her nest beside the house
of a poet. He was ill.

He sat beneath a plum
one day, and when he returned,
his hands were filled with the scraps

of stanzas. Here is the plum:
I know I shouldn’t, but
I pluck one leaf, I crush it,

place it beneath my tongue,
releasing its bitter mint.
Praise to the angel’s wordless

gaze—her angled cut,
the balm of moss—who coaxes
the root, who stakes the shoot

of the chestnut and the plum.