A year in: fireweed
First thing. You are sturdy in your sundress
your bare shoulders newel posts
shiny from every cupped hand, every corner
turned. A month into this heat wave
we all want rain. Oh & ripe tomatoes
& air conditioning & maybe a weekend
at the lake. But after two weeks away all I want
is an hour among the weeds.
It takes me two hours to find gardening gloves
& the courage. Oily bluebottle, you thrum
dissatisfaction from behind the screen door
as I set up your play pen
in a spot suitable for bare shoulders
your spot-lit marble imitations
of bare shoulders.
Next, a yellow milk crate
full of books & toys humped out
into the day; I hip-check the door shut
& your rage two-step your mewling
squawk is as foreign as familiar as falcons
hunting from skyscraper roosts
shedding pigeon scraps as commuters
shed napkins & tiny packets of salt.
Once we know they’re there, that is. Once
we’re wondered at the intersection of falcons
& cities & cell phone towers.
Eggs & turkey bacon & toast. Rye.
Forty minutes later. You are ephemeral
in your sundress as you happily crow
& jaw ripe & almost overripe
strawberries into pulp & pits
& runnels of red red drool
as I stuff weeds taller than you
into a garbage bag, each of them fireweed
after the blaze of two weeks
away & the slow burn of two summers
Poem from Hump (Palimpsest Press, 2010).
Ariel Gordon is a Winnipeg writer whose debut, Hump, won the Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry / Le Prix Lansdowne du poesie at the 2011 Manitoba Book Awards. How to Prepare for Flooding, a collaboration with designer Julia Michaud, is forthcoming from JackPine Press in 2011. When not being bookish, Ariel likes tromping through the woods and taking macro photographs of mushrooms.