Penumbra


by Carolyn Martin



Per your request I put the darks in the dryer

and alarmed the doors I’m heading out annoyed

about the sweet gum we cut down last week

Gone its shielding shade allowing wicked sun

to scorch marigolds petunias zinnias and phlox

Even summer’s stingy clouds won’t offer sheltering

I’m off to find an umbrella tent maybe a tarp to tack

to the fence anything to circumvent the last

last resort uproot blooms risk their death replant

If the solution lies in dirty work nothing will redeem

our failure to foresee our ineptitude except perhaps

the flicker body-slamming a suet cake or the feral cat

poised and pregnant begging breakfast at the sliding door

or the purple smell of irises celebrating their first

bloom Considerate diversions searching

to find their roots in a poem’s scattered shade



Carolyn Martin (she/her) blissfully retired in Clackamas, Oregon, is a lover of gardening and snorkeling, feral cats and backyard birds, writing and photography. Since the only poem she wrote in high school was red penciled “extremely maudlin,” she is amazed she has continued to write.


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