Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Birmingham, 1963

Russian sage

Russians have taken over our gardening shed.
I see them, surfer-ish blondes and fierce Tatars
ambling among the trowels and bushel baskets,
planting their tri-color flag in the petunias. 

My brother has a train layout in the basement
set up on an old ping-pong table. I invite
one of the Russians to come down and see it.
He turns pale, looks funny, leaves in silence.

I go out to the garden shed with a notebook
like Lois Lane. I flip it open for an interview.
Why are you using our garden shed? 
I stand there with my pad like a waitress.

At night the Russians sit around and smoke,
private thoughts burning under a suburban moon. 
Don't they miss the Volga, the Dnieper?
Then in late June they are gone, leaving

only half a muffin behind like a broken heart
laid tenderly to rest amid the tall, fragrant sage. 

for the Word Garden Word List--Pages For You

Music: In The Garden


  1. I love that sad half muffin left behind like a broken heart!

  2. I find this poem mysterious, as the heart is mysterious, fragrant with possibilities and frightening in intensity. Who hasn't felt the invader at the door, yet these fellows seem somehow more haunting than bloodthirsty. A beautiful and complex poem which leads us into the garden of earthly delights which can be so pathless and vast.

  3. I just love your stories. I also love the voice in this poem--curious and bold. Maybe this poem is not meant to be romantic, but there is this swoon-worthy vibe I so dig about the close.

  4. This was very clever. Seems recently you have been fascinated with Russians in prose and poetry. Smiles. I liked the Lois Lane illusion, an icon of our generation. Today she wouldn't have a notebook, but would have a phone! One wonders what the Russians were doing there anyway. They seemed harmless!

  5. very interesting and captivating - like a picture hanging in a gallery, it contains many dimensions. Fascinating.

  6. That second stanza had me laughing -- what do Russian men in garden sheds know of a boy's toys?! -- all work, no play, but for a time, a garden to tend and a girl with stars in her eyes to wonder at before moving on, and on, and on. If ever a poem made me smile, this one did. You're a brilliant storyteller, Shay, and poetry of sweet little lies.

  7. Russians in the garden shed, Russians in the strategy room, they're coming .. they're coming! Naturally, I thoroughly enjoyed your very creative poem.

  8. An amazing tale with an unfinished muffin!

  9. I second what Sherry said, I love that image of half a muffin left behind like a broken heart. There was a slight feeling of menace as to what was going to happen so I only felt glad relief when I got to that last line :)

  10. Will order my copy of Anna Karinina soon, but I need to know which translation, I want to find out why Russkies haunt your shed and trains make them see ghosts!


Spirit, what do you wish to tell us?