In the Garden






And looking up from the book’s page
I am startled by a flurry of black wings
settling over ageratum blossoms
standing numbly in the sun

there is a breeze…..and the crash and roar of metal
the construction site rising up behind
like some crude nest
its white noise hum background for the trills
and chirps of city birds….,this garden
of yellows and pinks
carved out among buildings and concrete walkways


And after the rain the grackles and sparrows
gather at puddles just deep enough
for bird foot wading
dipping heads, fluttering wings,  fast, fast
into the water; dipping in, splashing like children
enjoying a dunk in the pool

one after the other they enter, splash, fly off
wings heavy with wet and glisten
even the jealous, guarded, wood thrush
who comes after all the rest


And there on a bench, sleeping off
his all-night prowling, a man sprawls among newspapers
some extra clothes…..plastic bags…..a mismatched
pair of shoes…..his own crude nest protecting him

Asleep under the trees, the homeless ones —
what do they dream about, these spring afternoons?
do their limbs, like the trees, remember winter’s hard frost
or, do they unclench in the sunlight…..and grow young again?


And the breeze…..where does it carry them
do they dream they are birds flying through endless blue
or, is it hunger that fills them…..raw…..wanting
does the high-pitched fragrance of the flowering locust
incite strange landscapes filled with unwanted memories
disappointments…..uneasy grief
suddenly flashing into anger

turning restively, can they hear the voice in the garden?

And we…..awake
with a book in our hands,  or pacing anxiously along
do we ?

About Michele Belluomini

Michele Belluomini’s poetry has appeared in many print and online journals as well as anthologies. A chapbook, Crazy Mary & Others was a winner in the Plan B Press competition.  Signposts for Sleep Walkers is her most recent volume.  She was one of the winners of the 12th Annual John and Rose Petracca & Family Award for her poem, “La Befana.”  She is Adjunct Library Faculty at Community College of Philadelphia.

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