The Vines of East Rockville
by Marianne Szlyk

According to Celtic astrology, the vine is
indecisive, fickle,
born in the transition to fall
as the air loses its heat
and sunlight disappears
into the dark crimson
and purple of early evenings.

Many vines grow
in my neighborhood
some with flowers,
some with leaves like hearts,
others with tiny needles,
most on chain-link fences.

Even the house with scented roses,
a teacup terrier, and peonies
has its vines.

The family next door plants
vines with purple flowers
and thick-skinned peapods.
These fuse with the fence,
green and silver links together.
Once an Italian family raised grapes,
green leaves and purple fruit twining around
the arbor where an old man now sits.

Up the street a profusion
of leaves tangle with the links.
Purple flowers and red berries
and yellow leaves
show up among the green.
Young trees, too young
to bend the fence,
spring up like vines,
for now, protecting
the abandoned
house until it falls.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was originally published in the Fall 2014 issue of The Greensilk Journal. At one point, I revised this poem into unrhymed quatrains, but I like this free verse version best. It fits the nature of vines to ramble. Quatrains probably suit poems about roses or boxwood more anyway.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Vines of East Rockville, Maryland” by Marianne Szlyk.

better picture of marianne and front room

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marianne Szlyk recently published her first chapbook, Listening to Electric Cambodia, Looking Up at Trees of Heaven, at Kind of a Hurricane Press. Her poem “Walking Past Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Winter” was nominated for the 2014 Best of the Net. Individual poems have appeared in print and online, most recently in Poppy Road Review, Black Poppy Review, Carcinogenic Poetry, bird’s thumb, The Flutter Journal, Of/with, Walking Is Still Honest, and Literature Today as well as Kind of a Hurricane’s anthologies, most recently Switch (the Difference).  She edits a poetry blog-zine at and hopes that you will consider submitting a poem there or voting in one of its contests.