This month’s flower girl stops traffic
in the garden center parking lot
in tight Carhartts and Felco holster,
wiping a smear of soil from her cheek
with clay-encrusted fingers. Where’s she been
all winter? On some exotic playa
down under, collecting seaglass? Or here
all along, holed up in a rental off Oak Lane
with only a wood stove and cable, plotting
meticulous scenarios of perennial displays.
She’s been cleaning out beds since March first,
shoveling snow off crocuses, ripping
root balls apart, pruning the Buddleia back
to nothing. Gets by on a diet of Advil,
Doxycycline and caffeine. Spouts Latin
like a native; fluent in Hemerocallis and Hosta,
her heart belongs to Dahlias:
her dreams tossed by Loverboy, Marry Me,
Hot Tamale, and everybody’s favorite
eleven inch red orange, Bodacious.
She’ll be hard to pin down for the duration,
always rushing off to some job
cradling a cup of tea and a hose kit,
trailing a cloud of deer repellent and cocoa
mulch, but eventually things’ll settle down
to just dead-heading and watering
and those ugly tubers from the basement
will turn incandescent by mid-July. Maybe
then she’ll have time to lean against the warm body
of a truck and waste an hour in the sun.
Donald Nitchie lives in Chilmark. His poetry chapbook Driving Lessons was published in 2007.