November 3, 2009

Katie Chaple

PULLING WEEDS ON YOUR 30TH BIRTHDAY

Today you shouldn’t have put your hands in the dirt
or been out in early morning. Today, when you should be wary
of sentimentality, when you’re thinking of a year ago
with the first dandelion, which leads to other dandelions,
to clusters of gypsyflower with their clumped roots—
once you work them, each pops like a button.
Some of the roots are more difficult,
like finessing a rusty zipper, or those that pull
like that innocent tug on a string and the whole
hem unravels. Also, I should have told you
that weeding next to camellias never goes well—
every time you get close another petal slips off,
sometimes whole blossoms. You forget
to look up at the flowering trees—
each like the breast of a bird in full plume,
nesting. Each the snowy bloom of apology.

from Rattle #23, Spring 2005