A life history in suburban plantings

We’re a flower-hungry people, so you know “bloom where you’re planted”: from that land of live oak, bluebonnets, prickly pear you grow in a neighborhood draped with ivy and crepe myrtle. Rooted shallow and wide. Your own first garden unshaded, broad-bladed grass framed by marigold, vinca, mint.

What root traces your steps

to prairie snow, sugar beets, lilac by the door? The spreading apple tree, dandelion spring. Your first taste of hate for forsythia follows to southern pine forests, thin wood at playground’s edge, understory ferns’ moist heat.

What love for a place you never belonged?

Thinking to settle: the huge rain-flopped peony, ants swarming on the buds, short burst of cerise and the cheerful yellow rose. In back, a fragrant heirloom shrub (so your children shower you with petals).

What root graces your steps

to a place of language you can’t speak? Though you can hear its nature through the soles of your feet. Rosenbogen wreathed in pink, balcony view of trellised garnet-red, scented cream-peach Vorstadt walk.

Such love for a place you never belonged.

Now you are here, tamed by hosta, daylily, boxwood hedge. Your roses true knockouts (though bees don’t care) gleaming ruby in the light. Heart-shriveled, craving green-wild and the overthrow of mulch.

What root tangles your steps

and what blame if you guard yourself from sinking right in? You’re the dandelion fluff blown by any new wind…

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watching the neighbors

dreaming crabapple, pomegranate-bright
paired cardinals, redbud, tulips bobbing
in tattered sunlight—I see people—
outside!—discussing the trim of a tree

strange

how nothing in pendant birch-pods
questing tendril peas nor even flight of bees
suggests an asteroid skimming past
only five times farther than the moon

 

…but it happened…asteroid info here.

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raindrops, tulips, eggs

on a day when pear-bloom carpets
the drive, strawberries wide-eyed, grateful
we pay for the sun again in the way
we bought it with months of gray

why should it make me glad
that thunder-clap, downpour tapering
to gentle plash—I am remembering
the cracked-earth thirst of South Texas

how we turned our faces to warm rain
after breathless hours of cloud-watching
(will they, won’t they stop here or hurtle past
like the tankers on 281)

perhaps there’s no mystery:
it’s fiesta-time, now, in my hometown
bluebonnets gone in their mayfly-life
so we chase and embrace it

and here the redbuds held tight
child tulips upright, spared for tomorrow

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