The Gardener and the Garden. Poems by Phoebe Reeves, selected by Ron Mohring as Number 4 in Volume 4 of our Editor’s Series.
Publication: November 17, 2019 [100 copies]
With original cover art by Ursula Murray Husted, this print run also features end papers made from plantable seed paper, which can be gently removed. At the appropriate season for your garden, you can tear the end paper into small strips or pieces and plant them. We’d love to see photos of what grows for you.
Phoebe Reeves earned her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. She is now a Professor of English at the University of Cincinnati’s Clermont College in rural southern Ohio, where she runs the college’s Poetry Reading Series and advises East Fork, the student literary journal. Her first chapbook of poems, The Lobes and Petals of the Inanimate, was published by Pecan Grove Press in 2009. When she isn’t writing poems or grading papers, she sings in the folk-country band No Consolation and is also often found weeding her garden in Mt. Washington, Cincinnati.
On the sidewalk, I bend to touch the body
of a bumblebee, only to find it’s the hollow
velvet of a spent magnolia flower. I see them
everywhere now, climbing into wilted morning glories,
napping on the rudbeckia, sharing the buddleia
with a hummingbird, four tiger swallowtails,
a red admiral, and a hummingbird moth,
each circling, weaving, ducking in to drink
from a tiny cup and bobbing back out again,
an infinitely complex Maypole dance
in which food and fertility are one.
One bumblebee lumbers into the wide eye
of the male squash flower and stumbles around,
wallowing in the stamens like a toddler
having a meltdown in the cereal aisle.
She rights herself, wanders out, goes
straight to the female flower, incipient squash
already bulbing out behind the blossom,
and crawls her way in, an unlikely Cupid.
In three months when I pick the golden butternut
from the fallow vine, when you are
sleeping in the monochrome of November,
I will remember her. I will remember how
I wanted to stroke her softness with the tip
of my finger, feel her shape under my skin,
lick my finger and imagine how it would be
for her to enter me and bring me
what I need to set fruit before I die.
–Thank you to Grist for first publishing this poem.
- Order Phoebe’s chapbook here. Thank you for supporting this poet!