Do not rail against the daffodils for their insistence
on yellow, or the iris for being purple and persistent.
Do not curse the bees as they wriggle
their bottoms from honeycombs, nor begrudge them
pollination and flirtation with flowers.
Do not blame the cherry blossoms
for blossoming abundantly and pinkly,
or the grass for growing green, though you have stomped
your foot and beaten it with clenched fists.
Though you long for the desert, parched hills,
burnt weeds, though you will miss the lushness of spring
this year, it will come again.
It will search for you among the beach plums
that year after year emerge from grains of sand
that once were rocks and stones, yet smother themselves
with clusters of white flowers and blue-black fruit.
No golden fleece, apple, parachute, or purse,
but that sexy red dress you couldn't afford now on sale,
Cape Cod light captured on the artist's easel,
a bowl of mushroom barley soup to slurp,
and under the sofa the pearl
you thought you'd lost, a rule
broken without penalty, no need to reap
the wild oats you sowed. Each night you ease
into dreams, and while you sleep,
the skin cream you bought really does erase
lines and wrinkles. Outside, goldfinches bright as lemon peels.
SPYING ON MY NEW NEIGHBORS
They're tilling the soil, building a garden.
While their son's in school, they've squared
a patch of hard ground, pulled out grass and weeds,
lined up nasturtiums, snapdragons, sweet peas.
Through the scrim of evergreens, I watch them,
so close and still at first I think it's just him—
then a tangle of arms and kissing,
bodies so entwined they're almost one person or
two persons growing into each other,
twin trunks of a single tree.
Soft, smooth skin's what I'm thinking about,
how young they are, how nothing bad has happened
yet. Minutes later, they walk off the job,
his hoe dropped on top of her rake,
one whole hour before the school bell rings, before
their boy comes home, wanting Twinkies and juice.
Imagine the bulbs of their bodies planted in bed,
clothes peeled and strewn like petals, the furrowing,
the tender raking of tillable flesh, flowers blooming
from ears and eyes, the red peonies of their mouths.
Shafts of sunlight warm the garden bed.
Long tender roots shoot down, strong enough for any storm.
Diane Lockward's second collection, What Feeds Us (Wind Publications), received the 2006 Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize. Her poems appear in Garrison Keillor's Good Poems for Hard Times and in such journals as Harvard Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her poems have also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer's Almanac. A former high school English teacher, Diane now works as a poet-in-the-schools.