When I’m in a Garden, I Want to Hear its Story | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

When I’m in a Garden, I Want to Hear its Story

I may seem distracted by the hummingbird
or the vagabond
           but what I want to know
why wildflowers
                        tall as cornstalks
      why these pinwheel jasmines
or golden gladiolas —


My mother could pull a dying rosebush
from a neighbor’s trash bin
& get it blooming.
                        Then, of course,
the neighbor would want it back.


I’m not a fan of the Imperial Rose
          & I’m allergic to bees
(Even more, to poison ivy —


The year my marriage nearly ended
I planted coral-skirted fuchsias.
              They hovered
precariously in the wind
         from hanging baskets
just beyond my kitchen window.

To my surprise, they flourished
even in those months of drought.

         (Though I warned them
in a whisper —

         Don’t be afraid to fall.

—Joan E. Bauer

Joan E. Bauer is the author of The Almost Sound of Drowning (Main Street Rag, 2008). Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Chiron Review, Confrontation, The Paterson Literary Review, Uppagus and US 1 Worksheets. Joan divides her time between Venice, Calif., and Pittsburgh (specifically Highland Park), where she co-hosts and curates the Hemingway Summer Poetry Series with Jimmy Cvetic. To listen to readings from the series, go to www.hemingwaypoetryseries.blogspot.com. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.

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