Forty hosta hastily transplanted last fall
to the sandy verge, the steep bank nuded
when the hollowed maple, lifetimes in
the making met its maker; these hosta
now have yellowed, furled, rolled limp,
a blight to con the eye, invite attention
to a lawn gone sepia. Blades of grass
now brittle sticks, wind’s rusty chant,
rasp, fiddlesticks and tendril threads,
tall clumps to say nobody lives here.

The rose bush dead, already petrified,
strong succulents all curled a shrivel-
withered brown. One lush anomaly:
Rose Campion Lamb’s Ear rooted
’round the female holly bush, bright
spiky leaves from silver soft surround,
pink valiant blossoms, bold and strong
to do the thing good lipstick does.

Hidden Primrose. Remembrance Rouge.
Abandon. There is a shade to christen
every life condition. Sunset Lavender.
Marauder. Jade. The bare, black cherry
tree whose limbs Spring draped for twenty
seasons in soft Pink Lady Promise, old,
shabby, surely wanting care. The same,
the lawn, the house, the lady who lives there.

And so, it seems it only takes one summer
without rain, a drift of weeks, the world
gone mean, to make a start then, offer age
assent. To give surprised consent, or to
at least – time bossy, brooking no dissent –
begin to know there is a change now
on its way. Not today. Not right away.
But coming. Closer, I can tell, and yes,
untimely, but foreshadowed now.
Less unexpected.

And so now by loss readied,
verdancy, the shading done,
time today to let light come.

Photo by TheRegisti on Unsplash

Linda McCullough Moore

Linda McCullough Moore is the author of two story collections, a novel, an essay collection and more than 350 shorter published works. She is the winner of the Pushcart Prize, as well as winner and finalist for numerous national awards. Her first story collection was endorsed by Alice Munro, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and equally as joyous, she frequently hears from readers who write to say her work makes a difference in their lives. For many years she has mentored award-winning writers of fiction, poetry, and memoir. She is currently completing a novel, Time Out of Mind, and a collection of her poetry.