Palm Frond Cross

Cleaning out the car one weekend, I discovered
the palm frond cross, my wife’s cleverness, crafted for
our little boy’s amusement during Palm Sunday Mass.
Knowing it would be sacrilege to dispose of a blessed
object, but sure that this one had outlived its purpose,
I thought it harmless enough to entrust the cross
to Nature — the side yard, a sea of sowthistle.

Soon thereafter, we hired gardeners to weed and plant.
Irrigate, mulch. While the men were at lunch, I paid
a visit to the master bath, and out the window spied
the cross, not on the ground where I’d left it, but
wedged in exaltation behind the fence’s backer rail;
and I felt, germinating inside my prickly guilt, a seed
of gratitude for this anonymous correction.

Sean Madden holds an MFA from the University of Kentucky. His stories, essays and poems have appeared in The John Updike Review, The Los Angeles Review, Roanoke Review, Small Print, Sport Literate, Waccamaw and Dappled Things. He lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills with his wife and sons. More: