The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Sunday and Brookside Gardens Butterflies

By Mark Doty

Late August morning I go out to cut
spent and faded hydrangeas--washed
greens, russets, troubled little auras

of sky as if these were the very silks
of Versailles, mottled by rain and ruin
then half-restored, after all this time...

When I come back with my handful
I realize I've accidentally locked the door,
and can't get back into the house.

The dining room window's easiest;
crawl through beauty bush and spirea,
push aside some errant maples, take down

the wood-framed screen, hoist myself up.
But how, exactly, to clamber across the sill
and the radiator down to the tile?

I try bending one leg in, but I don't fold
readily; I push myself up so that my waist
rests against the sill, and lean forward,

place my hands on the floor and begin to slide
down into the room, which makes me think
this was what it was like to be born:

awkward, too big for the passageway...
Negotiate, submit?
                        When I give myself
to gravity there I am, inside, no harm,

the dazzling splotchy flowerheads
scattered around me on the floor.
Will leaving the world be the same

--uncertainty as to how to proceed,
some discomfort, and suddenly you're
--where? I am so involved with this idea

I forget to unlock the door,
so when I go to fetch the mail, I'm locked out
again. Am I at home in this house,

would I prefer to be out here,
where I could be almost anyone?
This time it's simpler: the window-frame,

the radiator, my descent. Born twice
in one day!
                        In their silvered jug,
these bruise-blessed flowers:

how hard I had to work to bring them
into this room. When I say spent,
I don't mean they have no further coin.

If there are lives to come, I think
they might be a littler easier than this one.


We had a bunch of pre-beach chores to do and Adam had an evening date, so we spent the morning getting organized and doing laundry, then took a break to go to Brookside Gardens for the annual Wings of Fancy butterfly exhibit. The weather was cool and magnificent -- a bit drippy but no serious rain -- so it's a shame that the lakeside paths are being repaired and the Japanese garden is closed, but we got to see many butterflies in the conservatory:

While Adam was out, we ate ravioli and watched Rise of the Guardians, which is quite predictable but reasonably entertaining, mostly because Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, and Jude Law voice major characters (I had no idea the Easter Bunny was 6'1" and knew martial arts, hahaha). Then we watched the first episode of Broadchurch which is On Demand -- someone please spoil me if the ending is too horrible to watch. And the Os and Nats both won!

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