Nebraska Center for Writers

by Janelle Masters

If only we could touch like flowers bloom color,
one white petal filling a field.
How would you carry me then?

I could be the daffodil, angry that you did not call,
or an iris, bearded wisps weeping,
a rose asking fame or money to unfurl me,

dainty marguerite, happy white hands,
a golden face dancing, in the sunlight,
dancing in this wind of breath.

Carry me in the basket of your body.

Reprinted with permission
from Voices of Flowers
Copyright © 2009
by Janelle Masters

by Janelle Masters

Tell me is the rose naked or is that her only dress?
—Pablo Neruda from The Book of Questions

she turns toward you
the perfect O of her curls

spiced myrrh
orange round petals
riches that rise like incense

lifting, what is her prayer?

Reprinted with permission
from Voices of Flowers
Copyright © 2009
by Janelle Masters

by Janelle Masters

An old gift from a farmer's barn,
the boards crumbling splinters,
a piece of old blanket on it,
some wire connecting it all,
rusty runners that still slide on snow-packed streets,
walk and run to pull her on ice
on the edge of town,
wooden painted Victorian skaters silent on ice
welcome us to more than the village,
past shabby houses
past nice older houses,
the colored lights glow
large wreaths with ornaments
lights on angels hung on light poles
down the main street,
garlanding them,
on the snow sparkling magic,
feet crunching, then gliding,
burning cold on faces, burrowing into coats,
holding our mittens together,
lifting our faces to the silent night,
Dashing through the Snow,
O Come all ye Faithful,
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,
let all the earth sing,
let all the skies joyfully raise:
the widow Murray gives us
sugar cookies and hot cocoa,
let us give thanks and praise!

Reprinted with permission
Copyright © 2008
Janelle Masters

by Janelle Masters

I have killed almost every new thing
you have planted. Today I mowed over
two more of your lilacs. Four down,
six more to go of the ten you got
from the Arbor Day Foundation.
Once I went around them carefully,
bent to free them of tiny weeds.
Now even the gardens I planted
have moved away from me,
weeds grown over them higher
than my knees.

And the apples rot under the tree,
next to them the grayed Adirondacks.
I could not make them resist the weather.
See how the webs gather in the seat,
how the curled wisps of leaves linger?

I have wasted your life.

Reprinted with permission
from Nebraska Life
Copyright © 1997
Janelle Masters

by Janelle Masters

The house that Dorothy left
was pigeon front gray,
feather paint peeling,
wood alone on its earth.

The reach of the land
was larger than her arms,
billowing great smoke drags
at the horizon curling it back,
going places.

Somewhere along the flat rows,
there is yet the soft whispering
of children among the ears--
miles and miles just asking
to be eaten by her red shoes.

Reprinted with permission
from Whole Notes
Copyright © 1984
by Janelle Masters

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Nebraska Center for Writers