Jul/Aug 2011 Poetry

Two Poems

by B.L. Gentry

Photo by Mike L. James

Photo by Mike L. James

Marigolds in November

For the garden, summer's pestilence
has been obliterated.

No one told the marigolds. They remain
a border for lifeless vegetables.

Hardy, painful to look at, the orange heads
are out of place as a sunburn
in this snowy landscape hole-punched by boots.

Perhaps they wait on answers, or justification,
or are simply mocking death. I cannot explain

them. The half-circle peppers, the parsnips,
even the red, imploded tomato-faces were glad for escape.

Thick stemmed, the marigolds refuse
to change or be forgotten.
The idea that by ignoring death

they will avoid the rotten
little bodies of squash and underdeveloped

melons will not be enough
to keep them here.
They are not ghosts.

Nor is it enough to excuse them.


Hauling Out the Trash

It isn't driving the ATV that bothers her
but the dirt and cow shit flying up,
sticking to her boots, her ankles.
Also the load of trash strapped to her back.

She's been sent, again, to the silage pit
where her family dumps their garbage.
A few times she's cut her hands
on broken bottles, so she doesn't touch it.
She just kicks the pile off and gets going.

The gas cans roughening their surfaces to rust,
the tractor seats wishing for days mowing
sorghum, the darkened mattresses, the hoodless
Barbie-cars and their scarred batteries
will remain foreboding to someone
like a spread of graveyard statues,

but not to her once she moves
to a city where refuse is more organized.


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