The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday and Brookside Flowers

By David St. John

   Vivian St. John (1981-1974)

There is a train inside this iris:

You think I'm crazy, & like to say boyish
& outrageous things. No, there is

A train inside this iris.

It's a child's finger bearded in black banners.
A single window like a child's nail,

A darkened porthole lit by the white, angular face

Of an old woman, or perhaps the boy beside her in the stuffy,
Hot compartment. Her hair is silver, & sweeps

Back off her forehead, onto her cold and bruised shoulders.

The prairies fail along Chicago. Past the five
Lakes. Into the black woods of her New York; & as I bend

Close above the iris, I see the train

Drive deep into the damp heart of its stem, & the gravel
Of the garden path

Cracks under my feet as I walk this long corridor

Of elms, arched
Like the ceiling of a French railway pier where a boy

With pale curls holding

A fresh iris is waving goodbye to a grandmother, gazing
A long time

Into the flower, as if he were looking some great

Distance, or down an empty garden path & he believes a man
Is walking toward him, working

Dull shears in one hand; & now believe me: The train

Is gone. The old woman is dead, & the boy. The iris curls,
On its stalk, in the shade

Of those elms: Where something like the icy & bitter fragrance

In the wake of a woman who's just swept past you on her way

& you remain.


I don't have much to report from my day, other than work and politics as usual and unseasonably gorgeous weather, again -- not that I am complaining about the latter -- and several loads of laundry that must be folded tomorrow. The high point of my day was walking in Cabin John Park while younger son was at tennis, during which hike I was greeted enthusiastically by four dogs (they're supposed to be leashed, but few in the park listen) wanted to lick my hands, one wanted to follow me instead of his owner, one wanted to grab the wire for my headphones and run off with it, and one jumped up and nearly knocked me over while his owner shouted, "NO POUNCING!" So my exercise was erratic but I have been very well sniffed indeed.

We had veggie jambalaya for Mardi Gras dinner. Evening TV included Glee, which I was appreciating until Regionals and its songs started; Ringer, which was something of a letdown -- I thought they were building up to a much more direct reason for the rift between the sisters and thought they chickened out; and the Kamchatka episode of Wild Russia on Animal Planet, which was fascinating and I love that unlike a lot of nature documentaries, Animal Planet's tend to cut away before one animal eats another. Here are some flowers from the conservatory at Brookside Gardens:


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