“I Dug Up the Iris” by Guest Poet Liane Ellison Norman

Dorothy's iris photographed May 27, 2010 after tea together on her back porch

I Dug Up the Iris

in Dorothy’s garden
to plant in the soaked

soil of mine, memorial
to her each spring

when they’ll open
complicated ruffles

and flourishes, purple
or blue with speckled

throats. They’ll rise
out of rhizomes

sprawling at soil’s
surface like the joints

of my old  hands
anchoring the tall

stalks and frilly petals.
This morning

in the brief breath
of cool I dug shallow

trenches for this legacy,
this pantry of pollens

the bees prospect,
insects with lives

beyond what the mere
gardener knows.

Liane Ellison Norman, a Madwoman in the Attic, has published two books of poetry, The Duration of Grief and Keep (www.smokeandmirrorspress.com). She has published poems in 5AM, Kestrel, North American Review, Grasslimb, Rune, Voices from the Attic anthologies and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Her poem “What There’d Been” won the Wisteria Prize in 2006 from Paper Journey Press.