Local reporters advise gardening
a sanctioned activity. Frugal as
my German grandmother, I poke seeds
salvaged from yesterday’s butchering
of tomatoes and peppers into loose soil.
I swear I hear Gladiola blades slicing forth.
Out of the west, a chill breeze carries
men’s voices softened by distance
and from down road the lonesome
clap of an iron head hammering wood
and further off the faint whine of a semi
gliding along blacktop headed north.
Impatient tweezing individual
seeds into precision, I shake out
a random scatter. Annoyed at that
Blue Jay in the Black Walnut
frantically jape-japing for a mate
and the neighbor’s belligerent rooster’s
crow song signifying nothing. This evening
our stolid governor orders sit, and I fret
for my tiny bedded seeds germinating
out in the cool air. My husband tells me
again it’s not heat that matters; it’s light.
I wonder if this is right
and ask only that these starts will rise
spindly clumps of tangle to sort later.
Shelly Norris currently resides in the woods of central Missouri with her husband John, two dogs, and seven cats. A Wyoming native, Norris began writing poetry around the age of 12. As a single mother of three sons, Norris had to concentrate on achieving an education and beginning a career to sufficiently support the family. Early in this journey it became clear that pennies from publishing poetry would not feed and shod hungry barefoot boys, so she necessarily dedicated her time and energy to building a teaching career. Meanwhile, working in the shadows grading sub-par essays, and editing for other writers, she has been slow to send forth her own writings into the cold world of rejection and possible publication in obscure volumes. One who struggled furiously with the art-life balance, Norris knew her destiny to be—like Burroughs, Bukowski, Stevens, and Wilder—a more dedicated and widely published writer later in life. While pecking away at various essays, short stories, and a couple of novels, Norris is wrestling a pile of about 100 poems into cohesive chapbooks and manuscripts embodying the vicissitudes of unrequited love and loss, dysfunctional wounds, healing quests, and the role of cats in the universal scheme.