by Ellaraine Lockie

Plastic replaces bona fide flowers and pollen
on the table by a stack of magazines
You think you can smell neroli
from the bittersweet blossoms
on the cover of The Green Gardener
Or maybe it’s the gray cat curled
around the tree trunk that’s causing
your nose to raise its voice
First the whine of sniffles sends you
to the box of Kleenex on the corner table
Then the blast in a trombone’s decibel range
that causes a woman to drop her pill
Followed by a continued ensemble of sneezes
as Georgia O’Keeffe’s purple petunias
on the wall waft optic allergens
And oak branches outside brush their own
allergy onslaught against the skylight
You know by feel that the flowers
beside the Kleenex are silk
Yet your eyes want to water them
Someone offers a Benedryl
but you can’t accept the absurdity
You feel even more foolish to find
from the allergist that dust and molds
are your real antagonists
With 179 needle scratches that leave
back and arms with enough red welts
to evoke a battered woman
You return Better Homes and Gardens
to the waiting room table
Brush against a plastic sunflower branch
And gray powders storm the air
that the biggest welt on your arm
welcomes like long-lost relatives

Illustration: “Purple Petunias” by Georgia O’Keeffe (1925)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ellaraine Lockie is a widely published and awarded poet, nonfiction book author, and essayist. Her ninth and recent chapbook, Wild as in Familiar, was a finalist in the Finishing Line Press Chapbook contest and received The Aurorean’s Chapbook Pick for Spring 2012.  Ellaraine teaches poetry workshops and serves as poetry editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh, and as associate editor for MobiusSilver Birch Press published her poetry chapbook Coffee House Confessions  on February 3, 2013. Find the book at

“Irony at the Allergist’s” and other poetry by Ellaraine Lockie appears in the Silver Birch Press Green Anthology — a collection of poetry and prose from over 60 authors around the world — available at