Schlehdorn say the Germans (the Schleh being sloe),
meaning, to the Proto-Indoeuropean,
bluish, blue-black; skin-colored
for some Africans. Sloe gin being actually,
if you care about such things, a liqueur;
add enough sugar and anything is sweet.
And never mind whether black means
the mat black of the bark --
for canes of authority and beating boys
into whipmasters on their own account --
or the dark, bloom-whispered midnight
of secret fruit among a brawl of thorn, blossom,
sucker and snow. Who can choose or know?
We must go further back, falling backward,
jolted by the concrete stair of time,
to the first slender wand, the first white star,
whiskered as a kitten and dotted as the script
of Arabian princes, in the first spring,
before any fruit
had stained the yard.