Here on Tonawanda Street, the drunk
mechanic’s wife is launching rafts of pansies.
In other yards, tulips’ scarlet and gold,
azalea’s coral bursts, columbine, creamy
white rhododendron, creeping phlox, scent
of dogwood, drifts of lilac. Gingkos leafing
out: pale green fans, butterflies. Beneath
them, my dog, ball in his mouth, rolls in
the new grass. We start our walk in air
that feels like rain but isn’t, all imminence,
held breathy hush, a medium for growth.
Tonawanda, Waldeck; a few blocks further,
on Tremlett Street, the big neglected yards
surrounding big neglected houses, stands of
wisteria clinging to porches, roofs, tall old
lilacs reaching the second floor bedrooms,
where sleeping, you’d wake to their scent,
look out onto grass shadowed by seablue
swathes of grape hyacinth, clumps of white
star of Bethlehem springing up along verges,
rhododendron’s tropical abandon screened
by sprawling forsythia. A yard where in
one corner a skinny white magnolia, like
the shyest girl, breaks into blossom.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 1.
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