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The Root and the Bud

Meandering up
the street oblivious my
mind full of jabberwocky
and inattentive to what’s
urgent what’s
broken what
needs to be fixed 

like the hooded canna
too close
to the edge
of the step
that without my help
will get trampled
and die of course
the city street
full of urgency until
the sound of humming
a child with a trowel
digging a garden patch
of crocus beneath
a generous swatch
of sunlight
and arranging
border rocks
the buds need 
among fresh shoots
that smell grassy-like
but not really
like grass
that has been
mowed into uniformity
the smell is not that
it’s the long
grass of the wild
blown field
without the
new-mown smell
I engage
a passerby asking
what do these smell
like to you
pointing to the
crocus shoots just barely
peeking above ground
that’s a good question
he says it smells
like mother’s garden
but actually more
like the loam
not the bud
that has not fully
arrived yet
I think of the root
he says
the loam 
and beneath                                                                                                            
the loam the root
yes the root
so I ask
is it sweet
does it draw you
to itself or repel
actually it’s
the root he says
that draws me earthy
alive again and again

and what then I ask
of the acrid stench
that just passed by
that diesel sting
that makes us
hold our breaths
that feels like
an insult especially
while we consider
the hooded canna
and only that



Jean Cassidy, 2021

poetry, wnc poetry, writing

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