I’d been traveling and missed this spring’s shy
unfolding. So when I returned, it was as if
a magician had walked around the yard
with a glossy black wand: Pow! Lilacs,
purple, white, wine-colored; scent to rock you
back on your heels. Bam! Dogwoods,
a cotillion of butterflies on bare black branches.
Shazam! Peonies exploding, great bombshells
of fragrance and silk. Tada! A rainbow row
of irises, blossoms shooting from green stalks.
Azaleas! Rhododendrons! Everywhere I look,
the yard is ready to send its bombs bursting in air.
So push down the plunger! Let every twig and stem
erupt into flowers. Soon, it will be June, and all
of this opulence will be spent confetti littering
the lawn. I’m standing here, slack-jawed
and gob-smacked, shell-shocked into love.
Out by the bird bath, one by one, the poppies
slip their green pods, slowly detonate
into silent flame.
Barbara Crooker is a poetry editor for Italian-Americana, and author of nine full-length books of poetry, with Some Glad Morning coming out in the Pitt Poetry Series in 2019. Her work appears in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, including Valparaiso Poetry Review, Chariton Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, Tar River Poetry Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Hollins Critic, Denver Quarterly, Smartish Pace, Gargoyle, Christianity and Literature, American Poetry Journal, Dogwood, Zone 3, Passages North, Nimrod, Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania, The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Nasty Women: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse. and has been read on the ABC, the BBC, The Writer’s Almanac, and featured on Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry.