From Clean Canvas, published in 2018.
I feel an idea
a certainty of
it will happen
so that I
to push my way up
from where I am
I want to go
from here to there
I’ve been a root
lived off stored-up starch
I’ve held back
been held back
did not know
Now I want to try
From Rearrange, 2018.
The pot contains a pink amaryllis
the tag says
my friend who gives it to me says
The swelling buds
on the thick juicy stem
are a lovely green-cream color
I wait for the unknown
to reveal itself
if the amaryllis
is a mystery
that will fool us all
three, then four
the hidden pink now discovered
outlined on green-pink flesh
coral-pink near the center
white-pink trimmed tips
I believe the amaryllis has far exceeded
the definition of pink
You have to see it
There is no saying it.
This picture is of the amaryllis that inspired the poem.
From the collection Redirection published in 2017.
Flowerhead too heavy for
Right angle bend
squeezed off creased and folded
How can it live?
Flowerhead curves skinny stem
a slow turn to the sun
Looks the sky in the eye again
Sways in breeze
never takes its gaze off the
skinny bent stem
They are a
that knows how to live.
From Redirection, 2017.
(This poem is written because of, about, and for my friend John G, who loves plants and art and sharing them.)
The Way Green Growing Things Do Thrive Generous
You live alone in the
tall thin house built almost on the sidewalk.
You set out one pot of pansies.
It was early spring. You liked the look of it
perched up at the side of the concrete steps
from the street. You added another. When it got warmer
you found a stack of empty pots
in the basement. You filled them with soil
and yellow flowers
you got for a dollar because they were
almost dead but now
You brought the houseplants
to join in
fresh air children
bewildered by the luxuriant light
and water showering from the sky but
they soon took hold
surpassed cramped ambitions
bushed out and overflowed their pots.
Someone passing on the road
– the green growing things
by now lining both sides of the steps
set up comfortable and greeting each day
with the interest neighbors take
in street happenings –
this person left you a couple pots of anonymous
that to this day have not revealed a thing about themselves
except that they like your front steps
After a rain it is hard to squeeze through the crowd:
branches bowed down by the collected drops
wet your legs to the knees.
I see you
sitting on the upper set of steps
surrounded by flowers and fireflies
You say you live alone
I don’t think you do.
From Enough for a Book, published in 2016.
A bouquet of yellow tulips
lay on the empty seat beside her
all the way down to the city
Two hours. She took them up
when we arrived
their stems wrapped in wet paper towels
and aluminum foil. Flowers from her yard,
then, not bought at the station.
Flowers from home.
From Enough for a Book, published in 2016.
Crave the direct sun
and don’t ask for much rain
and smile all the time
and you are a zinnia
and it all seems to come to you
From the collection published in 2016, Enough For a Book.
The cool sweet air
of the florist shop. The green smell
of stems cut. The rack of cards
suitable for enclosure
in arrangements for any occasion.
The jangle of the bell on the door
The watering hose
the hot sun
The humid warmth
rising from the concrete
The rows of potted geraniums for sale
brash and impetuous
ignorant of the roses in the cases inside
who wait to be asked
From the collection published in 2017, Refuge.
cut ends splayed out
the bottom of the glass vase
magnified by the clear water
three air-bubble silver beads
set in a line
above the red curved spike
of a rose thorn
in the silent room
From Generous With the Details, 2017.
My Responsibility, My Weakness, My Error
I have to confess that
I misjudged the weight of the grocery bag
and so I didn’t anticipate
the handle pulling off it
the food and
especially that nice bunch of flowers
you tossed in at the last moment
such a nice impulse
smashed flat under the canned goods
Lying on the sidewalk
where they fell when you grabbed the bag
by one handle
me not having warned you
it might be too heavy for that.
It’s my fault. I’m sorry.
Especially about the flowers.
“Saturday Flowers”, collage, 2007.
All of these were published in Pink Chalk, 2018.
The groundhog mother
Three statues stand in the grass.
Fox crossing the field.
you frill your petals.
bleaching-strong sun. You make do.
I will too. Thank you.
sized for two chairs and
flowers in blown-out bee pink
humming in the sun
Honolulu balcony, collage, 2002.