Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Final Issue 2018
it began with cleaning the oaks
Sonya C. Brown

“Be warned. What starts as a light prune

can turn into something more serious,”

he explained. A hint of braggadocio.

It’s true: The talismanic oak

soon amasses to opaque grey twigs.

No need to shelter behind a windbreaking barricade!

I went out and bought some ladders.

Most customers prefer the dark.

I went mad with color, deep and capricious,

wildflowers too thuggish for a border, a jostle of cistus and agapanthus,

horned yellow poppies and blue viper’s bugloss,

courgettes and cucumbers that never seem to stop coming, the smell

and rubbery feel of blackcurrants, the peeling bark of birches slicked with moisture,

the pelargonium showing fuchsia petals, magenta veins.

“I love gates,” he winked, “A gate invites.” With his patrician figure,

his wavy hair and bright-red socks. “A gate says come see what’s behind here.”

A frankly uninteresting approach, but the big blowsy flowers went tumbling

in the manner of wild roses out of hazels.

For our feast I was pragmatic, even romantic.

Queen Elizabeth I resolved to eat goose on Michaelmas Day;

I festooned fairy lights and bunting in a magnolia tree–

even an old oil lamp that lost its innards held a candle.

The success of a statement relies upon its scale.

Twas the Devil himself made it unlucky.

From such unpromising beginnings, the slippery slope was slid.

How edges meet: an impromptu perambulation, dodging moths and predators

around a scummy maladorous pond, a push through overhanging foliage

to a slick patio of characterless red-brick pavers.

Across a capacious lawn, the farm’s cows could be seen traipsing

along the bottom of the ha-ha. With all the traffic noise from the M25, suddenly,

perversely, it seemed there weren’t enough trees.

Rearranged and re-punctuated from the following sources published in Gardens Illustrated: James Alexander-Sinclair, Marina Christopher, Annie Gatti, Noel Kingsbury, Hans Kramer, Arne Maynard, Paula McWaters, Gavin McWilliams as quoted by James Alexander-Sinclair, Rosanna Morris, Dominick Murphy as quoted by Annie Gatti, Anna Pavord, Kristy Ramage, Frank Ronan, Katherine Swift, Jojo Tulloh.

About Sonya C. Brown

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