I held Braiding Sweetgrass in my hands,
each weave effused an aroma stronger
than a botanical garden. I stopped reading
to cup a cluster of roses in my hands,
some petals dropped when I unhanded them,
as if they didn’t want me to let go. But I did.
I went and held the face of a lamb in my hand,
white, billowy, pompom head, a flock of them
hiding poorly in a hydrangea bush.
I cupped an old magnolia bud peaking
out of its universe, it pumped
like an ancient heart in my hands.
I watched the gardeners sift forest-brown mulch
with their gloveless hands
spreading it like a blanket over the soil.
I sat for a moment under a dream tree,
as if I, too, were being tucked in,
its white leaves talked in the wind,
some flew away into butterflies.
I breathed in the last of the roses before I left.
The chipmunks followed me like I had nuts
in my shoes. When I got home,
I rubbed lavender cream into my hands
to keep the wild on them,
so that I wouldn’t forget,
what we’ve all forgotten.
– at William Cullen Bryant’s house, Cedarmere.
I’m mad at the sun & the blue sky
for making my well run dry
But the bumblebee is still fat & clumsy
And people still ask me if William’s home,
I tell them he’s rarely here.
I gave up my usual porch seat to an old man,
and walked down like a stream to the bay.
Everything shifts & changes-
constant shouldn’t exist as a word.
A butterfly flew into my face as a case in point.
She’ll be dead in a month.
the birds will still sing as they usually do,
but eventually they, too, will be different birds,
the next generation birds,
taught the same songs over worms.
A lone morning glory looks up at me from a bushy marsh,
not afraid to bloom alone.
I follow the path next to her, a path I never knew existed
two swans were resting together.
the male hissed and honked and shook his head at me,
everything I saw from that moment on lined the bay in pairs:
two men on a bench,
two garbage bins,
Two women at a picnic table–
Eight lines in a couplet.
They’re enjoying their rhymes while they can
until they become that lone morning glory
mad at the sun & the blue sky
for making the well run dry.
A horse is wearing a blue coat.
The birds are yelling.
The creek is streaming,
“Take it off!”
Hope Methodist Church
is a deserted nativity set.
Across the street, a door
holds a forsythia wreath.
James, my neighbor,
walks to get his mail
in a t-shirt. A change
Nancy Byrne Iannucci is a widely published poet from Long Island, New York who currently lives in Troy, NY. Defenestration, Hobo Camp Review, Bending Genres, The Mantle, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Bluebird Word, Glass: a Poetry Journal are some of the places you will find her. She is the author of two chapbooks, Temptation of Wood (Nixes Mate Review, 2018), and Goblin Fruit (Impspired, 2021); she is also a teacher, and woodland roamer. Visit her at nancybyrneiannucci.com and follow her on Instagram at @nancybyrneiannucci.