Rose season: Gruss an Aachen

Pale pink rose

I brought this rose from the old house 15 years ago. It was one of the first four I planted there in 1994 when I started to dig up that yard, and it became a part of this poem.

Love Apples

Each cut and push of the shovel sings inside her
and she imagines the summer garden
awash in lavender and meadow rue.
In the darkest corner she’ll plant a bleeding heart,
fleshy pendants dripping ruby in the shade.
She invokes the names of roses: Gruss an Aachen,
Reine des Violettes, First Kiss

and wonders what he would plant if he were here,
whether it would be a good year for tomatoes.
Pommes d’amour. Each spring he would start
with ardent intentions, watch the sun ripen
garnet hearts that swelled to splitting,
lay sliced and bleeding on the plate.
He would eat them until his mouth hurt and want more,
regretting the slender harvest.

Sunlight eases between her shoulder blades,
warms the distant hilltop where she’s placed what he left behind.
She turns the earth over and listens for him
in the stillpoints of her stubbornly pumping heart.

“Love Apples” originally appeared in A Steady Longing for Flight, Floating Bridge Press.

This mystery rose

red rose

Where did this rose come from, a persistent sucker stemming from nowhere, rising between the spiked canes of the yellow Agnes rose.

Could it be one of the wedding roses, spreading its red blooms across the yard?

Here’s more about those wedding roses.

When What Lives Will Thrive

The wedding roses open, a scarlet
snarl of petals ruffling in a stiff breeze—
reminder this chipped terra cotta pot
once held standard forms made to look like trees,
white flowers grafted onto stronger stock.
That unblemished cultivar did not last,
succumbed to the usual troubles—black
spot, powdery mildew, aphids, and rust—
but below, the root began to burgeon.
New shoots appeared, a tender green advance.
Years after that hot August afternoon,
we abandoned our plans for elegance—
and even white—found our own way to wear
the years, let the roses be what they are.


“When What Lives Will Thrive” originally appeared in the anthology Limbs of the Pine, Peaks of the Range, Rose Alley Press.

Lesson in persistence and a new poem in superstition [review]

I’m feeling very fortunate to be included in superstition [review] 10.

It took a few years of submitting and getting rejection emails and reading their journal and enjoying it. Yes, I feel lucky. And again, I’m looking forward to reading the other poems and pieces in this issue.

It’s been quite a week for poetry and me.

Yesterday, I received an acceptance (yay!), a request for an explanation of one line (that was a fun and engaging exercise–why did I write that two years ago–oh, that’s right), and probably the nicest rejection letter–really–I’ve ever gotten, and I have gotten some pretty nice ones.

All in all, a good way to head into the weekend. I hope yours is warm and wonderful.

A new poem in DMQ Review

And that’s not the half of it (or even a sixth). The new issue of DMQ Review also has a feature on Molly Peacock, plus poems by Martha Silano and others.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to pretend it’s Friday. It feels like Friday–and that means I’ll get two Fridays before the long weekend, and then it will be Saturday, and on Sunday we bottle the 2010 reds.

Summer’s winding down, but fall’s beginning to whirl.