Wisteria

Donald Platt Click to read more...

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Donald Platt’s fifth book of poems, Tornadoesque, is forthcoming from CavanKerry Press.  His sixth, Man Praying, will appear in 2017.  .  His fourth book, Dirt Angels, was published in 2009 by New Issues Press.  In 2011 he was awarded a second fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a third Pushcart Prize.  His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Salmagundi, Prairie SchoonerNotre Dame ReviewCrazyhorse, Ecotone, Black Warrior Review, Seneca Review, Southern Review and Best American Poetry, 2015.  He is a professor of English and teaches in the MFA program at Purdue University.

          
                      My mother comes back
as the mock orange’s white blossoms with yellow anthers, their faint
		              sweet scent


that the scant breeze blows to me.  It’s flowering for the first time.
		              I sink my hands
into the dirt, get closer to the tap root of the huge dying elm


		              which spreads its black limbs
over me against blue sky in such eloquent gestures of grief 
		              that I remain 


kneeling in the flowerbed, weeding, staring up.  Wisteria waits 
		              in a black plastic 
gallon bucket to be planted.  My dead mother loved 


                      the color of wisteria. 
The white label calls it “wisteria frutescens—
		              Amethyst Falls”


and says its vines will grow 20 to 30 feet.  I’m building it
		              a trellis,
two treated 4x4 posts anchored in concrete, set 12 feet apart


		              and strung with horizontal
galvanized steel cable. I’ll train the wisteria’s wrought-iron vines
		              to climb and twine


through these staves, to become a sprawling G clef that will flower
		              into late spring’s
lavender notes, cross-pollinated by bees, its sound and scent carrying far


		              beyond our backyard.
On the harp strings of the trellis, it will blossom again and again into the one
		              illuminated letter of being.
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