by Shauna Shiff
Someone labored over this swatch of grass, removing sod with hoe
then shovel, creating too-perfect a rectangle, severe straight lines
with the crisp, stark angles of a Mondrian painting, set squarely
in the middle of acres of lawn. It’s rolling green, then this,
new black soil and a wild spray of bergamot, tall, lanky plants
growing with abandon. These are not front-yard flowers,
show-off perfection with stiff stems and saturated color,
but are weedy, flop over, petals tinged a watery lavender.
The blossom is a sea-urchin shaped mass of spikes,
a bed-head tangle of tendrils, and each bloom dips down
beneath the tiny weight of bees burrowing head first and butt up
into the flower’s center. My son and I crossed the lawn barefoot
unbothered by bugs or any living creature to this one allotted plot
of wildness, lit with insects, in a vast, empty space of nothingness.
I stroke the fuzzy back of a bee, and my son does the same, unafraid
of stingers, or the wiggle of too many legs. I want for him
what I want for the bee buzzing beneath my fingertip,
a love for the unmanicured, to always have enough to eat,
bravery to search when the world shrinks
and all flowers are stolen from sight.
Shauna Shiff is an English teacher in Virginia, a mother, wife, and textiles artist. She has always been an avid reader of poetry, and is returning to writing after a long break.