Garden House
Joannie Stangeland

Garden House

Year I stripped the lawn, ripped out a room
for irises, purple tongues panting.
Year I cleared a palace for the butterfly rose,

its petal wings fading pink to yellow.
I made space for leggy tomatoes.
My daughter made a blue stone river.

Years of musk rose climbing the shed,
rugosas raging over the yard the year
my daughter moved out in storm and fury.

What was planted, what took root—
garden a fever and glory,
garden a house of sparrows and sweat.

My daughter moved back, needing sunlight
for kale and carrots, blocked by those roses,
my thicket, my green story of teeth.

Four days to raze the stick and barb,
leaf and dead. Garden a plain dirt floor
before a grief of weeds.

Come spring, what’s left—a few tulips
lit red in the rain, tender parsley,
the smallest strawberry leaves.

Joannie Stangeland

is the author of several collections, most recently The Scene You See. She received the 2019 Crosswinds Poetry Journal grand prize, and her poems have also appeared in Boulevard, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and other journals. She holds an MFA in poetry from the Rainier Writing Workshop.