You stand on the pedestrian median between lanes of traffic,
waiting for the walk light,

gazing down to where rain has washed up
winged seeds, flotsam of sodden leaf-litter,

the butt ends of cigarettes, crushed under heals…
paying no mind to the Chicory sprout

that has put on just for you,
this display of pinwheel petals

under an echoing blue sky,
with not a single cloud in sight.


Lift your eyes from the gutter —Yes, you! —
and behold this pastel-colored-Easter-egg sky

with jagged line of white light
streaming through the crack in its shell.


Go ahead.
Be astonished

by this Zen painting
framed in your window:

the flowering pear tree’s
network of branches—

bold black brush strokes—
surrounded by clouds of white petals.


Chicory sprouting in the crack
between curb and sidewalk,

its petals now pursed
against this summer drizzle—

why do you spurn the praises
of friends and strangers alike?


Mist rises in coiled cornrows
from the surface of Fresh Pond;

sun just peeking over the tree line,
not a breath of wind to rustle leaves—

how many more sleepless nights
can you endure?


Waste lot bordering
abandoned harbor-side pump house:

This used to be real estate,
as in the Talking Heads’ song,
Now it’s only fields and trees.

Where clover, sumac, elephant grass;
where pheasants, wild turkey, field mice and rabbits;

where, in milkweed patches,
Mexico bound Monarchs down from the Maritimes…

now bulldozers scrape bare and level the earth
to put up a parking lot!

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
’till it’s gone?


This ornamental cherry
the city planted at curbside

today is a branched candelabra
tricked out in flames

as in the Shaker painting “Blazing Tree”
each wick of leaf is burning

bright autumnal orange,
a “gift” to us

homeward bound commuters
on the 73 bus, stalled in traffic —

Mother Ann would’ve approved.

Mark Pawlak