"It may happen that we do not always want the most beautiful form, but one of our own designing."
—Shirley Hibberd (qtd. in The Book of Topiary, by Charles H. Curtis)
My Topiary Is a Hedge against Confusion
You have to come at it from a distance,
to walk up close to it to see the animal
is only from a distance:
then to be charmed by it.
The closer you get the more abstract.
The dog is named for the variegated privet.
Walk away & the wind shakes Spot & the little leaves flicker,
perhaps, as if in happiness,
or, the water off.
It is not giving up anything nor is it
literal to a fault.
The Privacy the Privet Promised
What had seemed headed in one direction took on suddenly,
a life of its own, the one thing forbidden.
The rule of time is you feel yourself growing older.
You see yourself from a distance that keeps getting longer.
There is a Failure in the Topiary
yet here we are in the way the growing season
never lets the ragged ends of things be still.
Something will get us closer & then Poof!
I think you see me for nearly what I am.
published in American Letters & Commentary
Number 19: Special Feature: Collaborations
republished by Verse Daily
photo by Vanita via flickr