He says this

as if there were any other place
where love exists. A heaven, for instance.
Or a hell, defined by heaven’s absence. Earth
is all there is. Our moments on it scarce.
Stones become cherry trees, blossoms, fruit.
But in the end, always, it’s a race against birds,
who, like us, suspicious of a later sweet,
will eat the sour now. And love it.

Cirsium vulgare

What do I do with this mud
caked on the basement floor
in the shape of your boot tread?

I forgot
July. Hiking. Visiting flowers un-bedded,
distinct from our back garden;
the way you praised the woodsy thistle,
his magenta head bowed in self-

As if he, too, wondered
at his prickly leafed wings, whether
he might fly. Never once suspecting
autumn. The down. The wind.

Photo by Elisa Stone on Unsplash

Rodd Whelpley

Rodd Whelpley grew up in Geneva, Ohio, three miles from the Lake Erie shore, but he eventually drifted westward. He now manages an electric efficiency program for 32 cities across Illinois and lives near Springfield. His chapbooks include Catch as Kitsch Can (2018), The Last Bridge is Home (2021) and Whoever Said Love (coming in 2022). His first full-length collection, Blood Moon, Backyard Mountain, is forthcoming from Broadstone Books. Find him at www.RoddWhelpley.comor on Twitter.