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IN PERPETUAL SPRING
by Amy Gerstler

Gardens are also good places
to sulk. You pass beds of
spiky voodoo lilies
and trip over the roots
of a sweet gum tree,
in search of medieval
plants whose leaves,
when they drop off
turn into birds
if they fall on land,
and colored carp if they
plop into water.

Suddenly the archetypal
human desire for peace
with every other species
wells up in you. The lion   
and the lamb cuddling up.
The snake and the snail, kissing.
Even the prick of the thistle,
queen of the weeds, revives
your secret belief
in perpetual spring,
your faith that for every hurt
there is a leaf to cure it.

SOURCE: “In Perpetual Spring” appears in Amy Gerstler’s collection Bitter Angel (North Point Press, 1990).

IMAGE: “Garden in Bloom” by Vincent van Gogh (1888)

gerstler

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Gerstler won the 1991 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry for Bitter Angel (1990). Her early work includes White Marriage/Recovery (1984), and her more recent works include Nerve Storm (1993), Medicine (2000), Ghost Girl (2004), and Dearest Creature (2009), which the New York Times named a Notable Book of the Year. A graduate of Pitzer College and Bennington College, Gerstler has taught at the Art Center College of Design, the University of Southern California, and the Bennington Writing Seminars program. She lives in California with her husband, the artist and author Benjamin Weissman.