Two poems by Russell Rowland

The Window-Box

By the time you realized how crushing you can be,
the flowers in the window-box had turned
from peeking in the window. They’d all realized

that she who planted them reaps elsewhere now,
no longer available to them. Nothing to see
in there any more, the flowers concur in whispers.

Their pretty bonneted heads started to droop
the day she didn’t return. Were they sad
it was she who left the house, instead of you?

Will you be tending them? You are all thumbs,
none green. She left behind a little
watering-can, but no directions for its use.

Awake at 3 A.M.

I was kicking off sheets in a sweat
from schizoid dreams, as you swallowed Advil
seventeen miles to the south.

Down there in Tilton, a police car patrolled
Route 3 on your behalf: late shift;

here my newspaper carrier was stopping
at driveways, convenience stores: high beams.

Necessary exemptions from slumber;
and more, a covert world for those who make do
without the collusion of daylight—

red fox, barred owl; hooded souls
who creep up to lighted windows, or crawl
beneath cars and flee with catalytic converters.

Above, lonesome communication satellites
crossed the zodiac, no one to talk to
about the isolation up there, about the cold.

You and I returned incrementally to sleep.
Outside our bedroom walls, eyes glowed.

Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee Russell Rowland writes from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, where he has judged high-school Poetry Out Loud competitions. His work appears in Except for Love: New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall (Encircle Publications), and Covid Spring, Vol. 2 (Hobblebush Books). His latest poetry book, Magnificat, is available from Encircle Publications.


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