It has been decades since
I’ve held an armload of flowers.
The last time was when we had
peonies in abundance in the
backyard on bushes against the
fence. I cut them, shook them off,
hosed them down, then gathered
them again in my 10 year old arms
their perfume clouds surrounding me
while I hope I’d washed off all the ants
and carried those boughs with
blossoms as big as fists into the
house to put in the white ironstone
pitcher with the thick handle.
Karen Loeb’s poems and stories have appeared recently in Big City Lit, Halfway Down the Stairs, Thema, Foreign Literary Journal, and Hope is the Thing, an anthology from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. Her work has won both the fiction and poetry contests in Wisconsin People and Ideas. She was Eau Claire, Wisconsin writer-in-residence 2018-2020.