Archives for category: garden

Late Bloomer

You were late, though I hardly minded,
as distracting as it was to see you
press your way out of your green sheath
and uncoil those layers, deep pink,
even as an early autumn frost threatened
to nip at your slender tropical petals.

I realize your delayed appearance
has nothing to do with your desire
to bloom, nor your ability to captivate me,
along with the curious hummingbirds
and sparring cabbage moths.

No, I understand it took some time
to catch up after someone mowed you down
in his ignorance, leaving you stubby and broken,
reaching with shredded leaves to soak up
any sunlight you could claim, and
claw your way back toward the sky.

A broken beauty,
though nobody would know it,
to look at you.

Claire Juno, © 2014


Love’s Identity

Love is the wonder
that crosses your face
when you gaze
at a blooming vine
in your garden,
under the neapolitan skies
of an evening hour.

Love speaks
through the words
of an advertisement
that catches your notice
on an ordinary evening
as you check your email,

But Love is bigger than that,
and even you would not deny it—
though it seems an awkward stranger,
like a friend who is gradually lost
to distance of one sort or another.

Love knew you
before you knew Love;
before you knew anything at all.

Reminders such as this
catch your breath in your throat
and you push back your chair
in resistance, tears concealed
behind your beautiful hands.

Love stands sentinel,
only waiting for you.

Claire Juno, © 2017



The sun is warming our backs
and we are on top of this giant grape leaf
and I am on top of you and we are
a conjoined lump of gold in this
afternoon light.

How could this be any more perfect
for two such as us, who happened
to come into this world with only
a year’s worth of days to our names
to live out our purpose, which is mainly
to further our kind forward in time
by sitting on this leaf together
one on top of the other,
glinting golden in the sun?

Later, perhaps, we’ll nibble shamelessly
at the deep pink roses in their garden,
spoiling the buds before they can fully bloom.

But they can hardly blame us,
even when they flick us off the flower
right in the middle of our indulgences.
We only have a year together,
and must use our time judiciously.

Claire Juno, © 2014


Be me for an evening.
Take this cup of soup
from my hands,
and slip on my old
red shoes.

Send prayers floating
up up to the fading sky,
Watch them drift to the
south with the clouds,

The hydrangea and peony,
the withering fragrance
of Monday’s roses,
the spade stuck in a
vacant bed of dirt—

silent witnesses
to this nightly occupation,
my solitary journey
from here to just there,
a pacing tiger swishing
at the sunset and its insects,
restless for any promise
in the leaves,
the shadows.

But there is nothing here.

Claire Juno, © 2016


You hacked the thorny rose canes down
with an odd vigor. Supposing it dead,
you shrugged off the loss.

But look now, a yellow bloom
that smells like honey, and several
pending buds prepared to follow suit.
And since yellow roses are for apologies
I can only assume it is not too late
for reconciliation in our dying garden,
a forsaken place that still yields
surprises from time to time.

Claire Juno, © 2014


It was a languid,
breezeless day
when he died
while biting me
right here,
sucking life from
that milky white
ambiguous land
between neck
and breast.

Not a bad way to go out,
if you must.

Claire Juno, © 2014


I show up,
waiting for you
to show up.
Waiting for
that brilliance
to waft through
the garden air,
redolent with
greenery and
flying things.

I have learned,
with time,
not to expect
anything, but
to extend the
just the same.

A petal falls
from a rose
that is fading
in the heat. I am
a solitary witness.
And still I wait.

A chipmunk
rests on a fence
and this is
a first for me,
as I have never
actually seen
a chipmunk
rest anywhere,
at any time,
for any reason.

A mosquito
happily fastens
itself to my neck.
When the breeze
shifts slightly, he
finds his way
to another
reluctant host.

I sip my tea.
It’s not bad,
but I should have
picked a different
flavor. It will take
a month to finish
an entire box of it
and that’s
a lot of trips
to the garden,
looking as usual
for you
to alight upon
my sleeve like a
metallic blue beetle,
odd in its beauty
and beautiful
in its oddness,
goading me on
to include it somehow
in whatever comes next,
what falls to paper.

Claire Juno, © 2013

The Pruning

The late days of winter yawn
and stretch and bed themselves down
for a few seasons, content to retire.

And the blood in the cherry tree
quickens its pace as the garden awakens
from a snowy dream
and everything greens up with the sunlight
which lingers a minute or so more
than the day before.

And you came by to prune the fruit trees
which had been left to grow unchecked
and were, to you, unwieldy, and in need
of some curbing, lest they get to thinking
that they can just do as they please.

It is, after all, your garden.

I came out later and felt a bit shocked
by the severity of the cutting—
but more than that, as I sat alongside
the cherry tree and looked over
its many limbs now sprawled
on the ground, I noticed the tiny stubs
which would have been blossoms,
now frozen in time, halted forever
from their natural course
of blooming and bearing fruit.

Like dozens of tiny tombstones
from a century or two ago, with
epitaphs about young women
who died while carrying the unborn;
the unrealized and unlived.

I noticed how many buds
were there, all up and down
the dark branches, and I wondered
what happens to that surging life
when you cut off the limbs.

Does the life from the bud run
backwards along the branch
in some misguided attempt to find safety,
until it reaches an abrupt exit,
bleeding out until the pulsing stops?

Or does the severed end
send an emergency message,
hastening the energy at breakneck pace
toward the bud for its swan song,
as if to say, Bloom, damn it!
This is your last chance.
Bloom while you can.

Claire Juno, © 2013

Beneath the Weeds

Today was the day,
I told myself.
Today I was going in
with thick gloves,
clippers and trowel,
to recover the garden
we once had,
now submerged
like an ancient civilization
under an ocean of weeds.

I met those weeds
on their level.
I matched their game,
tenacity for tenacity,
beating them back
like the voracious flames
they were, devouring
so many of our
carefully planted intentions.

Weeding and weeding,
I came to find there was
nothing left of our garden,
after all.

I felt like I’d been sent
to the far reaches of the world,
to dig for days under the red sun
in pursuit of a treasure,
only to unearth a Pez dispenser.
And an empty one, at that.

It felt a little like undressing
a ghost, article by article.
There is the apparition of
something tangible and worth
your dedication and toil,
but once you start digging,
you find only empty space.

Claire Juno, © 2013