filling the book

with what I don’t know about
trees, their loves and losses
intimacies with beetle and worm
higher math. how to curtsey in

and bow out, gracefully
to say no and graciously
yes, these distances between
and how to bridge them. why

a lover fades before your eyes
or changes, or you change. how
to get up every day, new
in the eyes of dog or child

to prevent disappointment.
why words come thick
(fast in your youth, in dreams)
then vanish like the bees

though all the scented flowers
lead like a jeweled trail
to or from your heart—
and all the silent waiting

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year of rest

The plum tree, puny though in full flush
of summer, all its neighbors lush in sun-glow.
Limp-leaved, drab. Last year—remember?—
its branches heavy-laden, juicy, buzzing,
a jewel among backyards, good provider
of jam. Winter, amber in promise. But now—
Rest, my dear. Dream away
these sunny days, rebuilding your strength.
Hold this green and gold reaching from your roots,
an encouragement.

may pond, 2&3

17 may

which will I remember for you—
grass-grown gravel track away
from constant surge and pass of cars
in bright sunshine; eight ducklings
tumbling in still water beneath the bank;
willow’s huge grateful shade; one tractor
loud-plowing this last possible acre
among apartments, hospital, shopping mall

*

18 may

all ducklings aground
in hidden huddled shelter;
gust-ruffled water

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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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