This photo is about five years old. I no longer have the purse, jacket, sweatshirt, necklace or blond hair. My love of gardens, my finding solace in beautiful blooming remains.
There is a wisteria bush on Portland Avenue,
sweet pea sister, snap dragon dalliance,
bumble bee Meetup, Victorian violet.
It must have been planted with hope,
from its size I imagine in the 70s,
large sunglasses and a head scarf.
The house is now nearly abandoned
with pulled ratty shades, peeling paint.
The soil is thin, the sidewalk, close.
The trash cans in the alley
clap their heavy lids in applause.
For several weeks now,
I step into the wisteria on my lunch hour,
my vertebrae plump,
The blossoms hang the way grapes do,
as notes tumble from an oboe,
the blossoms are spaced like pearl buttons
down the back of a wedding dress.
On 64th there is a Golden Chain tree,
Wisteria’s twin flame,
opposite her on the color wheel,
similar in suppleness,
forearms of lacy lemon
as though they dropped a kerchief or glove.
It is exactly between two houses,
a ladder’s length.
I like to imagine the neighbors
are yearly united in its beauty,
that they toast one another
under it in springtime.
A therapist once said
they have only to decide one of two tasks,
to afflict the comfortable or comfort the afflicted.
I find each of us need both salvation and to salvage.
One of my therapy exercises is to lead
clients in a Safe Place exercise
where they imagine the sights,
smells and temperature,
the sounds of somewhere calming.
At first I hesitated to introduce such to adults,
but soon found they settled in their chairs
quicker than the children.
The women choose beaches,
Men usually pick black places,
outer space, once a library.
It is always warm, there are usually stars.