Pruning the Back Boundary

Thomas Reiter Click to

Thomas Reiter has published five full-length books of poetry, the most recent being Catchment, LSU Press, 2009. He has been awarded the Daily News Poetry Prize from The Caribbean Writer and the Boatwright Poetry Prize from Shenandoah. He is Emeritus Professor of Humanities at Monmouth University, where he held the Wayne D. McMurray Endowed Chair in the Humanities.

After reaching down and delivering
spring’s terminal clusters,
a whiteness mixing citrus and jasmine
whenever we opened the back door,

our mock-orange bushes
have let fall their thumbnail
blossoms, leaving seed capsules
in their pale green starbursts.

A display of inherences ourselves,
we find common ground.
Back inside we’ll check each other
for ticks, those obsidian jots

that the exhalations of a host
alert to spring from leaf tips.
But now our pruning shears
reach the leafless, the long ago

flowered-out.  Their absence
a promise.  Is any other
desire at all like this?
A fragrance running us to earth.


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