Horsetail, bloodroot, trillium.
The early blooms, she taught me.
Her second husband Lieutenant Governor.
No kids, small dog.
Rose mallow, gentian, turk’s cap lily.
Boating, bridge-playing hard-drinking set.
She fell in love.
Foxglove, chicory, fleabane.
Third time the charm. The nudist colony.
She advanced, he went bankrupt, mocked her
Mrs. Bigshot. Laced her lunch with benedryl.
How did you like it.
Red clover, milkweed, St. John’s Wort.
The incident at her company banquet,
Incoherence about Pearl Harbor. Staggered,
Trash bags of vodka.
Forget-me-not, buttercup, cinquefoil.
No sex for years. The failed affair. He
Blacked her eye. At last, she said “alcoholic”.
Said, look there’s a fairy ring, how
Mushrooms are knit together
Beneath the earth, one great mother. Said
“We deserve each other.”
Chokecherry, Jimson weed, rattlesnake master.
Sepia tones where lawns curl
like abused children and the
Above, a balcony shaded
by a divided maple. You test
for a breeze unlikely
As penitence. Yesterday
another friend died
far off in San Jose. Before rinsed
in a plasma of stupor, he professed
thanks for a good life. If only you
can say as much, here
In a hothouse of yearning
where the ruined lilies fold their wings
and the sun grudges breath.
About Joan Colby:
Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers, The Atrocity Book and her newest book from Future Cycle Press-Dead Horses. Future Cycle has just published Selected Poems. A chapbook, Bittersweet, is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Press next winter.