On the Land
I pulled some plants that showed too-early green
when I might have been writing poetry.
On the way to the compost heap
with a kind of bouquet—fleshy roots, round leaves--
I thought of a poet-farmer-prophet
who urges Get back to your roots.
Back to the land. To soil and toil,
to your home place, your forefathers’ place.
My roots are in Manhattan, north
of Harlem. When my sixth-grade teacher
gave us morning-glory seeds
I dug dirt from the park to plant mine.
In the window box a white worm arched out.
I shuddered and buried it. Buried it again,
until it unfolded green wings. Oh poet,
my forefathers had no land,
but now in my garden in Pittsburgh
wrens build, rabbits browse, the rhododendron
opens waterlily blooms to bees in June.
Arlene Weiner is active in the poetry community in Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh Poetry Exchange and Squirrel Hill Poetry Workshop. Ragged Sky Press has published two books of her poetry, City Bird (2016) and Escape Velocity (2006). Her poems have been published in a number of journals—including Pleiades, Poet Lore, The Louisville Review, U.S. 1 Worksheets, and Vox Populi (voxpopulisphere.com)—and in anthologies. And her work has been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. She was awarded a MacDowell residency. She also writes plays. Her play Findings was produced by Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company.