montpelier - july 2014

It seems as though everything is in bloom today – from the tall goatsbeard to the variegated hosta that grows low and dense along the path.

I walk facing traffic. A few cars slow and give me wide berth. I remember the day one summer years ago when I missed the last bus and walked for miles. My mother was dying but we did not yet know.

I slow down. Past a rehabilitation center set back among some trees. Perhaps a person could get well here, sitting on a bench facing trees and asking questions of the wind.

Across the street, there are stones arranged to line a ditch and I want to say this is called a French drain? I think about crossing the street to inspect this more closely, but I do not.

A man and his daughter ride down the hill on a two-seated bicycle and as they pass, they leave the scent of sunscreen in the air. Further up the hill, scent of chlorine and I turn to see white sheets hanging on a line. Shoes left on the front porch. Occasional  hum of passing car.

I have walked a large circle around my point of origin, although this is not what I had intended to do.

Rust on the sidewalk
the particular blue of mailboxes

At home, peonies are blooming
without me      

Here, wild strawberries tumble
down a slate wall

Sedum grows in the crevices

– 

At home the wheelbarrow rusts, abandoned in the rain. 
I tell myself: I would be a different gardener here. Here, 
I would be more diligent. Would take better care of my tools. 
Would keep a garden notebook to make plans. Would not 
leave all the mulching for so late in the season after all the weeds have already taken hold.
                                               And this is how it is with us 
believing this time it will be different. This time, I will be better.

A mustard yellow Dutch Colonial farmhouse so bright and charming 
the sight of it brings tears. A child’s playhouse in the yard. Mulch 
in neat mounds everywhere. 
                                                                 A person could have 
a good childhood here: Could trap frogs in jars and fall asleep 
to the sounds of crickets. A child could live 
on wild strawberries and sweet peas. Could find reasons 
to stay out all day singing          even after night 
falls gently down over the mountains         even after 
other children have gone to sleep.

Facing the sun which is low in the sky and bright

Hearing footsteps approaching but not looking up

Car drives past behind the bench where I am sitting

They must be accustomed to this. To have us descending
on their town, a week at a time,

marching down to the co-op and buying up
their wine, their artisanal cheeses, their cases

of Heddy Topper. Playing pool in their bars
and throwing darts at the wall.

A sign taped to the base of a windmill reads: Take Back Vermont 
and one wonders from where the threat comes.

Clematis white and purple

Woodpile covered in a blue tarp

I smell honeysuckle but cannot see it.

In the apartments across the street, a fight breaks out.
A woman’s voice shouting:

“I’m not going to fucking see it.” The word could be see
or clean or eat. An important word to know, in context.

A man in a white t-shirt steps out on his porch,
then disappears back inside.

Tomorrow, I leave this place, its blooming. At home,
the mulch will need tending. The weeds

will have advanced, unchecked.
And I will have circled this place for days. 

Circling, circling, and now stopping.