Wendy Taylor Carlisle

Dogwood

Dogwood Blossoms by Willard Metcalf

Rain last night, and this morning the dogwood are full out,
nuzzle up to the back of the house. Their blossoms
sodden as torn paper in the trees, their cross-shaped

petals explode beyond my railing. The flowers,
so plain in themselves assemble, spare four-petal blooms
become majestic because they are many together,

treasured because they vanish so suddenly, in the days
after they flag the roadsides, the banks, the hills, on this planet
where we bumble around, wounding each other

and lifting each other up, loving and crucifying,
scraggly, spindly, unnoticed in the dreary winter woods,
until we become fireworks in spring, leaping out from a struggle

of spring brush, banners of survival, until we flower together,
illuminate the slopes, lovely and quick and gone.

 

About the writer:
Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives and writes in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the author of four books and five chapbooks and is the 2020 winner of the Phillip H. McMath Post-Publication Award for The Mercy of Traffic,(Unlikely Books, 2019). Her work has appeared on line and in print in Persimmon Tree, pacificREVIEW, Mom Egg, San Pedro River Review, Atlanta Review, and others and in a dozen anthologies. She has an MFA from Vermont College for Fine Arts, has twelve times been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and twice for the Best of Web.

Image: Dogwood Blossoms by Willard Metcalf (1858-1925). Oil on canvas. No size specified. 1906. Public domain.