Putting the Flowers Out

No canvas gardening gloves this year—
not out of any urge to reconnect
with Mother Earth, but because some critter
in the shed made an overwinter nest of the gloves
and so they’re chewed and piss-ridden,
and we’re in a rush to beat the rain
and to escape the already-swarming mosquitoes,
and we’re hungry for lunch,
so we’re slashing open the bags of potting soil,
dumping them in the easiest-to-reach pots,
pouring hastily like toddlers sloshing milk
into spilled over cereal bowls.
We stuff the sweet little begonias
and not-quite-bloomed-yet snapdragons
into the dark mix; cram cock’s comb
and coleus, nasturtiums and white clumps of alyssum
into their new mixed families. We water them—
gentle finally, at the end—just as the rain starts,
set them out on the deck, on the stoop,
window boxes teetering outside the windows.
They are our color, our comfort, our curb appeal
even as we are perfunctorily rough with them,
even as we live in the woods, no curb
from which to view and approve.

Photo used under CC


About Author


Liz Ahl lives in New Hampshire. Her book of poems, Beating the Bounds, was published in 2017 by Hobblebush Books. Previous collections include the chapbooks "Home Economics" and "Talking About the Weather," published in 2016 and 2012 by Seven Kitchens Press. Her second chapbook, "Luck" (Pecan Grove, 2010) received the New Hampshire Literary Awards "Reader's Choice" in Poetry Award in 2011, and her first chapbook, "A Thirst That's Partly Mine," won the 2008 Slapering Hol Press chapbook contest. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Court Green, Crab Orchard Review, Measure, Cutthroat, and other journals. She has been awarded residencies at Jentel, Playa, The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and The Vermont Studio Center.

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