Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Sharon Fagan McDermott: This Against the Night

For Allan Abrams

Sweet hyssop and the sweltering hives
from which sail bees, their resolute flight
into July, into my garden. There’s a swarm
for the everyday clover. More for the needled
heads of coneflowers. Two more are bristles
past each other in the long arms of the purple sage.
 
            And on the porch you, a gardener, too,
watch the sky gloom, cloud by cloud. Right now
you want high drama, heat-wracked booms.
The seams of sky and land split, menaced
with the kind of danger that makes you feel
alive. Your diagnosis, new
 
and terminal. I kick the calf-deep mint 
to fill our noses with it, and mindless, crush 
oregano leaves between my palms.  I’m usually 
good at this, the harder stuff. But it’s you. 
And from the distance of another year, 
I will tell you death is ugly and it’s tougher
than last-call memoirs reveal.   And yet, 
 
            I have the shelter of words, of stepping
back into this other scene, the thunderstorm
here now, your grin as rain begins to pound
the petals from the roses. And thunder drowns
my voice, Hey,come inside — get out of this!
But instead, your face grows radiant, as you call
back, God, don’t you love it?  
Don’t you just love all this?

From Life Without Furniture (Jacar Press, 2018).

.

Honeybees visiting hyssop blossoms

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