Failure To Thrive
I go to visit what we planted last summer,
but it hides from harvest.
Those sown by other hands have made good use
of the heavy rains, the slick earthworm’s burrows;
their stalks are waist-high and most have shed the thorns
they used to crawl through the dirt to sunlight.
Among these blades are trampled seedlings,
scorched shoots—none of them mine.
That moss-bearded man had promised me
a blue and prickly thing, slow-grown and moody.
When it was still a sleeping bulb I found it in a glossary:
Gardener’s Holy Grail. Thrives without special care.
I walk home to find the mint drowned in its bed,
the violets torn from their roots.
Across my doorstep: yellow pollen thick as snow.
I awake to a morning without sky,
the trees weighted down with blue snow.
A woman hurries from one lamp post to darkness and again,
her boot soles the orange of life vests, of hazard lights.
I wait until the horizon returns,
then find my footing in the prints she left behind.
Whatever is the opposite of a shadow stretches out
behind you on the wall.
My glasses are still fogged,
but I take the warm mug from your hands.
We settle in,
Elizabeth O’Connell-Thompson lives in Chicago, where she is the Literary Coordinator of the CHIPRC and a Poetry Ambassador for the Poetry Foundation. Her work has been published in RHINO, Banshee, Front Porch Journal, and The Best New British and Irish Poets, among others. Her chapbook will be released with Dancing Girl Press in late 2017. Get in touch at EOTwrites.com