Where has it come from, this conker?
How have I only noticed it now, with its
halo glow, on my carpet?
I find conkers in the washing machine
after a walk in the woods. Or on the university campus
where I wipe them on my trousers and turn them
around and around in my pocket–
an inconsequential secret as I talk
with acquaintances in the street.
But this Springtime conker by my shopping bag,
it’s a surprise. A real surprise.
And it’s sprouting.
How long has it been there, growing like that?
It has me thinking of all the living things in my home;
plants, yes, children, yes. But there’s also
the mold by our freezer, and the sourdough starter.
Potatoes. Spiders. Flies.
It has me remembering the Autumn I suspended
redbud pods around our dining room ceiling light;
a chandelier of wide, ribbony pods
swaying above our heads each time the back door opened.
A chandelier harbouring hundreds of seed beetles
that scratch scratched their way out above our heads one Spring evening.
That, too, was a real surprise.
But these unexpected things are really not so unexpected
–things must make their homes somewhere after all, and they must one day move.
And are we not dead if we do not move nor change?
So I consider the bread that has risen once more;
the mold that spreads further behind the freezer;
the plants multiplying themselves without assistance;
the children who have again put holes in their trouser knees.
And myself–still unfolding like a tendril or a beetle searching for light.