Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 9
Spring 2014

The Pruning

by Lynda Riese

Pinch the bud like this, 
my father tells me,
his calloused hand guiding mine 
to the joining of leaf and stem.

I stiffen at his touch but obey 
as I’ve learned to lie still 
when he opens the door to my room.
I pluck the knobby growth

between two fingers;
Good, he says approving
and lets me prune 
the next two rows myself.

I move with care 
among his prize chrysanthemums, 
their gaudy blossoms large
as my baby’s sister’s head.

They stand taller than I,
these favored children,
stalks straight as rulers,
my father training them

when they were small.
They bloom for him
like obedient daughters
tethered to silence.


SHJ Issue 9
Spring 2014

Lynda Riese

A Southern California native, Lynda Riese lives in San Diego with her husband and new rescue dog Wesley, whose joy is chasing crows and ducks that visit their backyard pool. In love with words, she works in both prose and poetry and has published in Onthebus, Calyx, Poet Lore, and other small press journals. An antique dealer, she buys and sells vintage and antique jewelery, loving the thrill of the hunt.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury