"Rhododendron"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
July 20 2004 6:55 AM

"Rhododendron"

Listen to Paul Breslin reading this poem. Flourishing in the shade, before the chestnut That clogged A's plumbing up with roots came down, It faltered afterwards. Sunhammered, blotching brown, It spraddled unpruned branches, wild and flat.

So we brought shovels, trenched beneath its root
While bees still browsed the petals, roped it round
And lashed it to the car, two hundred pounds
Of branches, blossoms, shocky roots, and dirt.

To make its home in shade, we had to move
Some pachysandra and a bed of lilies.
Now, as twilight fades, we set it in

And water the new transplant. Mazeltov.
Scrubbing off sweat and topsoil, all I feel is
My back is killing me. Thank God we're done.

Paul Breslin is the author of You Are Here, and with Rachel Ney, a forthcoming translation of Aimé Césaire’s play, La Tragédie du roi Christophe. He teaches at Northwestern University.  

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