I pick them as I picked you

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Wildflowers in Carrizo Plain National Monument, 2016

From Aspects of Eve, by Linda Pastan (1932-).

“Wildflowers”

You gave me dandelions.
They took our lawn
by squatters’ rights—
round suns rising
in April, soft moons
blowing away in June.
You gave me lady slippers,
bloodroot, milkweed,
trillium whose secret number
the children you gave me
tell. In the hierarchy
of flowers, the wild
rise on their stems
for naming.
Call them weeds.
I pick them as I
picked you,
for their fierce,
unruly joy.

Let me drink in your newly found river of sighs

If you’ve never read any Yusef Komunyakaa (1947-) , reconsider and find your way to his work if you can. You will not regret it.

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from “Love in a Time of War”

Tonight, the old hard work of love
has given up. I can’t unbutton promises
or sing secrets into your left ear
tuned to quivering plucked strings.

No, please. I can’t face the reflection
of metal on your skin & in your eyes,
can’t risk weaving new breath into war fog.
The anger of the trees is rooted in the soil.

Let me drink in your newly found river
of sighs, your way with incantations.
Let me see if I can’t string this guitar

& take down your effigy of moonlight
from the cross, the dogwood in bloom
printed on memory’s see-through cloth.

The privacy of them had a river in it.

Every year I realize there are a few enduring contemporary poets who have somehow escaped my attention. Linda Gregg (1942-) is a luminous writer I can’t wait to explore more deeply.

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“The Weight”

Two horses were put together in the same paddock.
Night and day. In the night and in the day
wet from heat and the chill of the wind
on it. Muzzle to water, snorting, head swinging
and the taste of bay in the shadowed air.
The dignity of being. They slept that way,
knowing each other always.
Withers quivering for a moment,
fetlock and the proud rise at the base of the tail,
width of back. The volume of them, and each other’s weight.
Fences were nothing compared to that.
People were nothing. They slept standing,
their throats curved against the other’s rump.
They breathed against each other,
whinnied and stomped.
There are things they did that I do not know.
The privacy of them had a river in it.
Had our universe in it. And the way
its border looks back at us with its light.
This was finally their freedom.
The freedom an oak tree knows.
That is built at night by stars.

from All of Its Singing