Russell Rowland

Succession

Today I went up to see how things stand
in the Ossipees.  My report is that hobblebush
and trillium have faded.  Bunchberry

is succeeding in prominence, a change
of floral government, like the political ones
in Israel.  Was there succession in Eden?

We will forget the successor, once
mountain blueberries ripen—we with pails,
precarious deep knee-bends, picking.

Blue harvest will patter in the pails,
then go home to sweeten cereal, patch up
lover’s quarrels: our guilt-offering.

Can’t think beyond the blueberries.
Sure, there are faces in the clouds, fortunes
in cookies, auspices in squirrel entrails

on the highway that I’m not reading.
Now obsesses me, and there’s precious little
of that—as bunchberry might know,

and the swallowtail visiting it, and
barn-swallows sitting the nest, expectant
of hatchlings that will displace them.


Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee Russell Rowland writes from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, where he has judged high-school Poetry Out Loud competitions. Recent work appears in Poem, The Main Street Rag, and U.S. 1 Worksheets.  His latest poetry book, Wooden Nutmegs, is available from Encircle Publications.