If I were a gardener I'd worship shape and color,
make paintings with petals and light.
But I don't know what I am doing.
Needing to clear a 60-yr muddle,
I pull weeds without stopping, yank the tops.
I clip the woody stems too low, too high. I am on a tear.
Insects interest me; I let them eat the roses. Likewise the
What It Must Be Like
Talking to you as if . . .
or thinking of you
as if you could talk to me
from the other end of the can and string.
I'm sure that over there
you are shown to each other as you are:
more light than bone and photons streaming.
Look! That normally bland finch
ablaze with what you have added to the sun.
All it takes is one look at their monumental bodies,
bare-chested, hammers pounding on the fence.
A mother's not supposed to see that bit of belly hair
where their denim waistbands dip low.
What do the tattoos that stain their forearms proclaim?
Their miraculous freedom? A confinement in their inherited
All it takes is an oak bud rising from the acorn that
the squirrel. Or a blue gill, wake-tossed and
by the minute fanning of its cellophane fins. Evidence—
under my nose, its needle under my skin. Ha!
What's the matter with me? Did I suppose the proof
would tumble from the bookshelf and shout my name?
Wallace teaches at the Maryland
Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD. She is a poetry editor at The Cortland Review and a founding
editor of Toadlily Press. Her chapbook, Minor
Heaven, appears in Desire Path
(Toadlily Press, 2005). Her poems, essays and photographs have appeared in
artists books, exhibition catalogs, galleries, museums, anthologies and
literary journals. CityLit Press published a new book of poems and photographs,
It Can be Solved by Walking (2012).