Diane Lockward



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.           





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.



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