t w o  p o e m s 

h e a t h e r  b u r n s





If the world is ordered by accident,

Then every place and hour must give warning:

Donít come here, donít stay long, donít buy Ė best rent

This house if doors wonít lock and the flooring

Is soft. And if you must plant flowers, find

The ugliest bulbs they sell in loose nets

And bury them in dirt nutrient-kind

Or mineral-stripped, then wait and lay bets

For iris, lily, glads, or if youíll stay

The season. A better life might just thumb

The mute doorbell or tap the weather-gray

Panes Ė solicitors for conveniences

Of magazines, cosmetics, religion,

Or fresh fruit for coldís common contagion.





In our town itís been drizzling for two weeks.

Squish. Standing pools cover lawns, slick leaf rot collects

On the porch steps and around the mailboxes, city storm drains clog.

The sunís failed to get through all month, and the magazines, bills,

Unwanted catalogues, and local circulars all are

Limp by the time people get home from work.


Next year there will be another Midwestern flood

To swell the rivers, erode banks, and turn acres of crops into lakes.

Again, pets and sofas and cars float past street signs.

Years of insidious silt to clean. Thereís nothing like a crisis --

A drunken argument with the husband over the leaking porch roof,

For instance, to make us forget again that our parents never really loved


Nature doesnít love us either. But it does give warnings.

Even the trees know this. The heavy drizzle condenses into beads

And runs off the leaves and branches in a thousand steady streams.

The roots dig deeper into the sodden ground, bracing.



©Heather Burns, 2ooo




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