Sandra Ketcham

September Garden Burning

Flowers open like fireworks. 
Their reflections caught in bubbles, 
in mist, in the shower of sprinklers.
They explode, high, higher, 
then fall. 

The wet and heavy petals of 
the Mexican Bluebells 
drape melancholically, 
leaking color on the brick planter, 
dripping purple quiet onto 
the burning ground.

And I see your face in the spray, 
in the dirt, in the sky, 
in the arrangement of fallen 
thirsty leaves.

And I see your face in the tree bark, 
rough and crumbly 
and sticky with sap.
Sticky in my memory,
in my mind.

The Spiderwort and 
the feathered yellow ferns 
and twist 
to wrap you and choke you.

The Black-eyed Susans watch and follow, 
then turn from your shade 
to face the sun, 
ashamed of temptation.

You linger,
rooting and spreading and stinging and smothering 
like prickly weeds, 
like nettles, like darkness. 
Like memory.

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