juniperus communis

called jenever by the Dutch

green and young, female seed cone

a fleshy berry used in gin

another life when you mature

piney and resinous

your berries beautiful blue

for seasoning, aromatherapy, medicine

native tribes chewed you to ward off hunger

your seeds become beads

Navajo necklaces for protection

I cut boughs from your strong trunk

like the ancients I bring you inside

to replicate the growing season

your fragrance blends with the balsam and spruce

like the cedar your tiny leaves intertwine

in featherlike fullness

a windswept beauty you are, juniperus drapacea

now safe in my home

— Ellie Bates