Rebecca Pyle - Trimming the Lavender
The Egyptian lions, stood up, At the Met, the color Of compressed honey and bee-kissed dust— Again and again tired of visitors.
Sculptures hold bored time and significant Time in unknown measure. Similarly, a hat, a pair of shoes, A bike or car left long at the curb; A desk. Where does it all go? To gray dust or to gold? When towers Fell, most in an elevator died. The elevator men With special keys ran away. They saved Themselves.
When stars look afraid We come to museums to forget them. I think of the curse on Tut’s tomb, cursed dust Which felled archaeologists one by one. Now I spend the hours Harvesting the lavender—thinking of several men as I harvest The stalks, cut them down and bundle them, turn them over Various men in my mind—but wonder also about lavender: Why re-cutting to make lavender bloom again, when it might Prefer to sleep? And not draw more bees? Bees, even, might prefer soft gray-purple to the Bright shock of new purples, new flowers. A color of purple sad people might need To feel new; as they might need to keep visiting Miraculous Egyptians in tombs, surrounded by lions Standing forever not moving, To feel alive. Around me in Manhattan, the Met, Overpaid museum turnstiles every day, the people Paying twice as much as they should in Rite Aid Duane Reade and Walgreens. Manhattan, the Met,
What lonely blasted places; everyone pretending not to be Lonely but they do not even have the imagination to be— Lonely. Drifting like dutiful spacemen in training, waiting, Earthbound, irritable. August heat.
Show me the art gallery Spacemen created before they Became astronauts. Were the astronauts changed about love As I am changing my mind about—lavender Being cut? To bloom again? What good is love? They knew. No good in the end, except for a view. The world tips and burns Into Space like cigarettes being burned, Like a funerary entrance to a tomb Being opened, secrets lost.
One more run in rock garden Lavender, five varieties, some four feet tall. One last go before winter: serrated Bread knife, the longest thrift store Had, enough dullness not to cut Sides of fingers. But why—the cutting again To make lavender bloom Again? Lavender which might prefer
To sleep halfway, drowsy-fine, and not draw More bees, who might even prefer its Gray-purple to the Star-shot shade of Purple Pleasing people so unhappy They need bright new colors To feel alive.
Amid gray-purple, They the bees still have The seeing, the breathing, the moving Like Bees, the song like a murmur A concern.
Rebecca Pyle's poetry, short stories, essays, and artwork appear lately in New England Review, Wisconsin Review, Muse/A Journal, Penn Review, Oxford Magazine, Watershed Review, and Cobalt Review. Underwater New York last year in 2018 published her new poetry chapbook The Underwater American Songbook, with artwork by the author on its cover. She lives surrounded by valleys and mountains in Utah; see her art portfolio within rebeccapyleartist.com.