“Home” by Marjorie Lotfi

Marjorie Lotfi


Mysterious lonely apple tree on uninhabited Hebridean island baffles scientists

This, I understand: the instinct to cling,
at any cost, to the place you are rooted,
to see another season through, though
the others seed elsewhere; your own young
move with tides and summer squalls.

Even in this sedentary act you push
the limit: winter becomes summer
becomes winter and you are steadfast
on your crag, your outcrop. You bear fruit
for yourself; there is purity in solitude.

No one hears your language, the shape
of your limbs against a darkening sky.
You question the need to grow against
the wind. Despite what they say, there’s
no mystery in simply holding on.

But what is home if not the choice—
over and over again—to stay?

from Poets Respond
July 20, 2021


Marjorie Lotfi: “This week, scientists have discovered that a crab apple tree found on an uninhabited island off of Shetland is a ‘pure’ species, never cross-pollinated, and may have been there since the last ice age. It’s also a mystery: ‘the possibility of a seed reaching the outer Hebrides by animal or human is unlikely, the scientists said, as neither birds nor humans consume crab apples.’ As a person who comes from generations that moved country due to war, hunger, and economic need, I’ve always been envious of those who claimed a place as their own, and stayed. Although I know first hand that leaving home is difficult, I’m certain that choosing to stay can be even more difficult.” (web)

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