Every morning I pull over to the curb
and your laughing pansies climb in, until the car is full.
Open wide, they press bright pink faces and soft green leaves
against the windows—waving to drivers, flashing smiles
at leggy joggers, winking at the traffic cop. A bunch of them
always beg for oldies, so I switch off the news. We rock
and bop and doo-wop-wop across the Hennepin Avenue bridge.
At the ramp, the voice in the box—Take the Ticket Now, Please—
gives them the giggles. I step out of the car, surrounded
by this cloud of flowers. We take the stairs two at a time,
John grins when he hands me the mail, and Ann,
downing coffee in the lounge, perks up enough
to think of the joke she had forgotten the day before.
I won’t lie to you. Every moment is not smooth sailing.
Sometimes the trucks pass way too close. We sway,
shake our heads, drop a few petals. And some days
are just too much for us. We close up early, exhausted.
People tell me that in these parts, the frost sets fast.
I say winter will come when it does, but for now
I travel with a car full of blossoms. Thank you
for tending them from end to end of that strip
that elsewhere fills with weeds and rubble,
for lending them to passersby!
"To the Owners of the Bungalow at 304 University Ave. NE" by Karen Kraco. Text as published in the "Minnesota Poetry Calendar 2001." Presented here by poet submission.
Art credit: "Pansy Glow," watercolor painting by Doris Joa.