for Ted Kooser
Years since we last talked, so today, your birthday,
I’ll Teleflora the old lovelies no one thinks to bouquet
or ribbon with satin—bachelor’s buttons, chicory,
tiger lilies, even dandelion whose butter brings a sneeze.
I’ll tie them in twine for the sake of Nebraska prairies
and sandhills, carpets of bluestem rolling endlessly
to howdy the sky. The memory I keep by the garden
gate in Tennessee, your conversation with Laddie
the sheepdog, intent and private, who would’ve gladly
heeled you home to the Great Plains, nose at your calf
steering west by northwest. My April wish,
through distance of country, for red-candled
peonies, the necessary ants chancing the weather,
an early field of forget-me-nots.
About the Author
Linda Parsons is a poet and playwright and formerly an editor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She is the reviews editor at Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, former poetry editor of Now & Then magazine, and has contributed to The Georgia Review, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Shenandoah, and Ted Kooser’s syndicated column, American Life in Poetry, among other journals and anthologies. Her most recent poetry collection is This Shaky Earth, and her newest endeavor is writing for The Hammer Ensemble, the social justice wing of Flying Anvil Theatre.