He will not let her into the yard
so she finds a knothole in the fence,
a brown-edged telescope, peers inside:
Love-Lies-Bleeding from its flocked, feathery
fingers, its red tails, the trails of broken hearts.
Amaranthus caudatus, a tassel flower,
if one had a green thumb, read a guidebook.
Love-Lies-Bleeding is an annual that could decide
to return to terrain that welcomes, to hosts
that are hospitable. Again, consult the guidebook,
these are not coincidences, but horticulture.
Love-Lies-Bleeding bleeds best planted in poor soil.
Some like a challenge, some people think they can
change science and nature. Remove the seeds
before they spill to the ground, the manuals advise.
Love will spill to the ground, its blood stain growing
and growing, bleeding, beating and waiting.
Love-Lies-Bleeding, she sees this through
the fence hole, and in this way, she knows
he will let himself to be cherished.
Poem by Jessica Gregg
Jessica Gregg is the author of “News from This Lonesome City,” a poetry chapbook, and a former writer-in-residence with Baltimore’s Yellow Arrow Publishing.