The Rose of Sharon
We argued for weeks, till our differences grew
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.
Richard Foerster is the author of seven books of poetry. His most recent is River Road, forthcoming from Texas Review Press in Fall 2015. He has been the recipient of numerous honors, including the “Discovery”/The Nation Award, Poetry magazine’s Bess Hokin Prize, a Maine Arts Commission Fellowship, the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, and two National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellowships. His work has appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, including The Best American Poetry, Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly, The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, and Poetry. He has worked as a lexicographer, educational writer, typesetter, teacher, and as the editor of the literary magazines Chelsea and Chautauqua Literary Journal.