Monday, March 31, 2014

"Purple Crocuses," a Poem


Seduced by El Niño’s eastern balm, they bloom early.
One morning they appear, sudden like shining wet paint
splashed across the newly green lawn.

They’ve naturalized, their opulent purples
each year more abundant with drunken bees
buzzing between six pointed petals.

Purple crocuses with shocking orange centers
were here before I stuck my shovel in this dirt,
perhaps before the old widow, Elvira Lockwood,

who dug here before me and left a wind chime
for her ghost to breathe against
while the red-throated house finches warble,

who, a neighbor woman told me, loved birds and flowers
and planted the climbing rose of pale pink and milk
that never bloomed for us until our daughter’s birth.

Even as the hands touch wood, say this house is mine—
the barn, the fence, the rose trellis my love built
for the warm-petalled Joseph’s coat to climb,

the dirt under my feet—these purple crocuses
spread under the fence to share themselves with neighbors,
unownable fleeting musical notes for the eye to hear.

@Aliki Barnstone