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poetry What the Garden Bodes

What the Garden Bodes, poet Carol Kanter implies, is not about flowers alone but about the political seasons in the run-up to the coming elections.

What the Garden Bodes

By Carol Kanter

The tulips stayed beautiful into May,

barely fell open into their usual

blousiness before losing

their heads altogether.

Maybe a hungry, lost deer

harvested their rainbow flavors–

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lemony sunshine, delicate peach,

sweet deep purple, meatiness

of arterial red, plain vanilla. 

No petal remains, stems

still upright but stripped clean.

Or maybe Alice’s Queen of Hearts

showed up demanding, screaming

“Off with their heads” to goons

standing by and taken in 

by her scariness, her call 

to do violence, by assurances

that her court alone wields power.

The lilacs, normally in bloom now,

are making a frail show of it,

barely scenting the air

fearful that their voices

will not register loud enough

to make the necessary difference.

But this spring wasn’t the blooms’

first rodeo and as perennials

their constitution


all but promises

how next year will witness

their showy bronco bounce-back.

Carol Kanter’s poetry has appeared in over seventy literary journals and anthologies. FinishingLine Press published her first two chapbooks: “Out of Southern Africa,” and “Chronicle of Dog.” Peterborough Poetry Project published her third, “Of Water.” Carol and her photographer husband have paired poems and photographs from their travels and published them in four coffee-table type books. (See Carol is a psychotherapist in private practice. Her book And Baby Makes Three explores the emotional transitions to parenthood.