The Honey Locust

Next to the ever-travelling stream, she
stands stiff and solitary
both soldier and queen.

Her brittle branches extend, dominating
over wild strawberries and violet clumps.
Emerald leaves emanate a
verdant glow in the afternoon light;
decorated with a halo of cream blossoms, she is
aloof and regal,
goddess of spring,
a deciduous deity.
Beautiful to behold but dangerous to touch:
her forbidden torso, a barbed wire trunk covered with
titian-coloured thorns
longer than a man’s hands. The
wooden daggers are
her tiara and her armour, sharp
edges and pointed
lines ready for battle
against invasive thieves hoping
for her fruit – honey
sweet but
perilous to procure.

Next to the ever-travelling stream, she
stands proud and alone –
a soldier and a queen
waiting to be touched.

Katherine Caswell Hughbanks’s poetry and narrative writing have appeared in Trajectory, CalliopeKentucky Monthly’s Penned Literary Edition, Kudzu Literary Magazine, and the Louisville Eccentric Observer’Literary LEO. She currently teaches creative writing in Louisville, Kentucky

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