November 2015

Asking the Great Meadows a Question

            by Louise Berliner  


Evening primrose went crisp

and caught the fuzz

off the bulrushes; yes,


they went pale and skeletal

while the asters merely fizzed,

and the explosion of the bulrush    

soldier hats—shocking.


Even milkweed joined the rampage,

launching parachutes

while the waters rose

on either side of the dyke,

the geese and ducks

once again in charge.


As I lay in bed,

I thought I walked among the herons,


escorted down avenues

of blooming goldenrod,

by buttonbush, horse lettuce,

blue vervain, meadowsweet;


saw the burr marigolds

shining in the shallow flats,

the lotus still late summer green

with her fabulous floating platters

clouds for the fish below.


Now those elephant ears

listen under water,

and their seedpods hang

their little Munchkin hat heads

like old-fashioned telephone receivers.


Hello? Hello?

Is anybody there?


A solo honk cuts the air,

bare stalks rustle in response.  

I may not speak Goose,

but I recognize November.


What surgery did the seasons perform,

while I lay recovering in my bed,

the green going all kinds of color,

before surrendering to brown?



Louise Berliner plays with words, herbs, fiber, and vine. She has a studio at the Umbrella in Concord, MA. Her poems, articles, and short fiction have appeared in VQR, The Mom Egg, Porter Gulch Review, Ibbetson Review, Sacred Fire magazine, and plein air chapbook collections from Old Frog Pond and Fruitlands. She is the author of Texas Guinan, Queen of the Night Clubs, and when she isn’t writing or weaving can be found walking at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.