Joannie Stangeland

Out of Season
by Joannie Stangeland

When I did not move to the country,
I let my lawn meadow,
fevered season like sweat

prickling, trickling down temples
to weeds I could not name,
and pastured on the sofa,

thought back—my first husband,
a hydrangea by the steps
ripped out. Season of temper,

the mercury rising.
What did not survive, and who.
Season of loss

(a small plot of annuals
at the cemetery
until plantings were banned).

Dead head what’s done,
my mother said, to keep up,
but I leave these lace-cap

blooms to dry the winter,
their skeletal filigree
one way to feel age,

another: sore elbow, trick knee,
tight back—how to flower still?
Season of rest

and then the roses—
the wildly green rambling
over dead cane and thorns,

each year harder, drawing blood.
Season of neglect
and one ladybug.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 2.

Joannie StangelandJoannie Stangeland’s most recent book is Into the Rumored Spring from Ravenna Press. She’s also the author of two chapbooks, and her poems have appeared in Superstition Review, Tulane Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and other journals and anthologies. Joannie helps edit The Smoking Poet and Cascadia Review.

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