The Rose of Sharon
massive as the shrub itself, a wolf devouring
space and light. Nothing could live beneath
or beside it. Slow to leaf and late to blossom,
prophetess of summer’s doom, I loved it nonetheless,
its daily flounce, its brief but lavish blast,
like a dance tune from adolescence, dropping
its cadences everywhere. And I warned, recalling
how my father also claimed an expert knowledge—
that what seems dead, in spring, will rise—and pruned
the old clematis vine, sheared its trellised mat
of midnight sky that cooled our Junes, left
nothing but three gnarled stumps behind.
Now as then, I wait for a sign, some node
nudging through the bark, any least thing
I might love more than the past.