Today's poem is by Laura Shovan
The Listening of Plants
On the buffet where she kept her celadon dishes,
Mother placed a vase of pussy willows
hurried out of their branches.
The buds were cat toes walking up a mottled branch,
miniature koalas hanging on their eucalyptus
in a scattered line.
I snapped one off the twig and rolled the bud
on the flats of my thumb and finger,
its smoky gray coat how I imagined koala fur might feel.
I rubbed the willow bud along the bone of my jaw
wanting to know how a plant can wear animal skin.
It was too small, like touching nothing.
I splayed my hand along its curves,
felt the hairs rise in the divot of my palm,
I would have needed a sweater of willow to be satisfied.
Instead I slipped it into my ear. How did I know
a pussy willow was the right shape for the foyer of my ear,
long hall leading to the eardrum and the bones behind?
The bud rested there and I listened,
wanting to hear what it had to say
which was quiet, which was the muted listening of plants.
When I asked Mother to extract a pussy willow
from my ear, I couldn't explain its presence
how I listened and heard its secret.
Copyright © 2011 Laura Shovan All rights reserved
from Mountain, Log, Salt, and Stone
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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