Poison Ivy

reddish vine of poison ivy
reddish vine of poison ivy

The windows were open last night
Letting the gentle April rains blow in
I wiped the sills down with a towel
This morning and
That’s when I saw the results
Of my spring labors in the yard
Yesterday:
Red welts moving
like angry clusters
On the white flesh of my forearms.
Oh, no.

I spent the whole afternoon
Picking up limbs, pruning bushes,
Pulling vines off fences,
While my husband mowed.

Insanity. I do this every spring,
Drunk in the freedom of the first warm air
Intoxicated by white blossoms snowing down
I unlock the shed, don floral print gloves
Pull out the sheers, the rake,
The empty brown plastic bins
And reel about my fourth acre like
I’m on a binge and I am.
Careless, oblivious,
after that first snip.
Nothing stops me.

The vines look dead, brown, lifeless
Something to be torn away and tossed
So that healthy green and beautiful
Undergrowth can spring up and thrive
But like serpents they’ve been lying
In wait for me, dormant,
To touch their venom
And walk away.
What made me think
I was the boss of this garden?

Cindy Brookshire
April 15, 2014

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