Four Poems by Laura Cronk
Yellow Wild Flower
I can eat as much as a big man. Wiry stems scarf up
sunlight, roots muscle through dirt getting at water.
If I could walk, I would run. Instead I shoot up
starburst buds and pinwheels of thick yellow.
Behind each bloom that’s going white at the edges,
about to look nibbled or crumpled or done,
there’s another spikey ball, ready. If I could walk,
I would never sit down. I stand straight, pixie cut
ruffled in the wind. There’s no swaying, there’s no
lolling a lush peony head toward all I want, hinting
hard. If I’m hungry, I say it. I eat and grow. I dare you
to scan this meadow and tell me you’re not thinking
yellow, yellow, yellow.
The neighbors didn’t say much
and we didn’t say much.
The baked dirt of August
The dog rarely barked.
The horses just looked.
The pine tree waved when
there was heavy wind
but mostly stood
silent, but for the slip
of needles from branches,
the taffeta whoosh of them
as we passed around
the side of the house.
Our parents didn’t fit—
they answered our questions
when we asked. Our
mother took it
further and went with
her guitar outside
to sit and play
on the concrete steps
hoping someone would
happen by and hear.
Our friends’ parents
weren’t like that.
Our friends weren’t.
what was needed.
First loves didn’t know
what to say.
The vast fields were silent
when you stood at the edge.
If you climbed over the locked
gate and walked out
into the rows of beans you
could hear the rustling of
the dry pods and the clicks
of insects that hadn’t
been killed by spray.
There was something
else here before
but we didn’t talk about
what it meant
or what it was or who.
Who decorates movie sets, sitcom stages,
the kitchens used to advertise paper towels?
Who decorates doctor’s offices, the suite
of offices of a university president, of
a Wall Street accounting firm? Who chose
the paint color for the steel doors at
the bus terminal, the window casements
of the post office, who picked out the awning
at the hospital entrance? All of the patients
in the ER waiting room are held in an embrace
of turquoise and beige that was someone’s
decision fifteen years ago. The spy in the new
series has art on the walls of her D.C. house.
When did she hang it? A set designer wonders this
while hammering the nails. In the evenings
and on weekends, I make the decisions one by one.
Mid-century with a Victorian nod, Farmhouse
Minimalism, Scavenger Maximalism
with a sense of humor and on a budget.
It’s never quite right and never done.
The Shakers hung their chairs on walls.
They shook together but never touched.
Is that how they could do it? Make a home
and live in it, all at once?
Portrait of The Summer Husband
You said it was like
we were living on a pod
on the sun. Top floor
walkup. You hauled
buckets with soil and seeds
to the roof. Your soft
green t-shirt. Your
You took me to the racetrack.
You took me to the park.
You said someone should
create The Love Fellowship.
Then being in love
would be all we’d have
to do for a year.
You packed me lunches.
You set up our checking.
You and the mailman,
the woman muttered
as you sat on the stoop,
reading. You and the mailman
have nice legs. In a few years
we’d have our girl in the summer.
You walking her for hours
in a sling down Bergen Avenue,
down Montgomery. But
this summer it was just us,
just you meeting me
halfway on my walk home
from the train. You walking
me there in the morning.
The heat was a thrill, incessant.
There was your hand with its new
ring. Your lips.
From Ghost Hour by Laura Cronk. Published with permission of Persea Books. All rights reserved.
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