Friday, July 13, 2012

A Poem by April Salzano


Next to the Hosta, once
established, we are the most resilient,
the least needy of the lot.
Unchecked we have been
known to eclipse entire houses, making them
as irrelevant as a garden hose.
We rely on rain, but remain
informal, not showy or ornamental, dismissing
our distant cousin the Azalea
for bragging about better heat resilience. Hybrid bitch.

The sunflowers, neo-hippie
heat-whores turn their smiling faces
to the sun, not realizing they have become
a cliché, woman’s self-designated symbol of freedom
and happiness, spawn of bird seed relocated by the squirrels.
The passive aggressive petunias swivel suspended
on hooks like needy preschoolers
on the playground, waiting for validation, requiring
obsessive compulsive deadheading in order to bloom
bright and rotund in their baskets.
Miracle-Gro addicts themselves, they have no right to judge
the bright fat feather of the Celosia Plumosa, albeit
a gaudy shade of red. The histrionics of the pink
Hibiscus is another story altogether, personality
split between flower and tree. The Robin’s
nest dead in her center says it’s the latter. Parody.

We won’t speak of the insecurity
of the Rose of Sharon, in blue chiffon,
given as a gift from someone with abandonment issues.
She never did come back.

Alyssum serves only as ground cover, space-filler,
a dash of white. As if it were that
simple to put order to life.
The narcissistic Rose bush battles the Day
Lily for space in the bed
to which they are all confined like stepchildren
on visitation weekend.
The marigolds scorching in the sun
make us laugh. The intention of orange and yellow fail
against brown singed leaves, almost
as humorous as what’s left
of the Violets. Pansies.

The Japanese Maple has a serious superiority
complex. Being covered at even the threat
of frost has created a confusion. She isn’t sure
if she’s strong or weak.
The Korean Lilac is struggling and won’t
flower this year, if ever. The Clematis, insecure despite
her continual wall-climbing gymnastics, fails
to sublimate the need for greener grass.

No one talks of our flowers, but expects
them just the same, as necessary as neglect.
Khaki shorts and flip flops comes to water the others,
squeezing the trigger with one hand while texting
about topics like overcompensation.
We never hear anyone say, did you remember to water
the rhododendron? Just once it would be nice
if someone picked the spidery tendrils from
our flower-remains in mid June. A touch
or acknowledgement before the purple
fades and landscaping becomes arbitrary.

April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in Poetry Salzburg, Pyrokinection, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Rainbow Rose, The Camel Saloon, The Applicant, The Mindful Word, Napalm and Novocain and is forthcoming in Jellyfish Whispers, The South Townsville Micro Poetry Journal, and Inclement. She is working on her first collection of poetry and an autobiographical novel examining the beauty and pain involved in raising a child with Autism.

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