The Lyric Poem Prize
Debra A. Daniel
Come April, when azaleas bank the lawn,
he starts his tirade, cursing the dried remains
of last summer’s hydrangeas, threatening
to sickle them down. I hear him berating
the hateful branches, graceless and rude.
I holler, Stay away from my hydrangeas.
Standing among irises and delicate narcissus,
he watches cars slowing as they pass, smug
in the admiration of strangers.
I never expected them to live, those hydrangeas,
when I placed them in cool October ground,
but they’ve surpassed my height,
and volunteers sprout like eager children.
The side yard is lined with what began
as three clay-potted plants brought home
from the graveside of my mother.
Come June, when his azaleas have wilted
and the only color left
is the brash orange of marigolds,
then look to my blue hydrangeas,
cool and ladylike as parasols.