Late Bloomers

CYNTHIA ERLANDSON

My last red rose-of-sharon
Is slowly curling closed,
Each giant shell-shaped petal
Beginning to turn in,
The five of them a pinwheel,
Crepe-paper veins exposed
To August’s reminiscence
Of the summer that has been.

Today it holds its brightness;
Tomorrow it will fall –
Frail, old, already rotting,
After one dazzling day
Of reigning in the garden,
Crowned king by size, like Saul –
And lie unburied on the grass
With others, and decay.

Huge five-point blossoms, meanwhile,
Herald the pumpkin, queen
Of autumn’s golden garden.
Their vines like giants’ veins
Have overlapped the chainlink fence
To tangle in between
Two yards, to join two seasons
At the seam where summer wanes.

They weave the raveled sentiments
Of August and September,
Portending things we almost know
But never quite remember.


Cynthia Erlandson has had poems published in First Things, Anglican Theological Review, Touchstone, Modern Age, and the hymnal The Book of Common Praise. Her first volume of poems, These Holy Mysteries, was published by Authorhouse.