Desert Willow

by Laura Madeline Wiseman

What I want is to bind you, steady you
into sand, listen to your whispers, petal-tongued,

pale buds dropping, your fingers opening
and closing at the ground. See the stake and gauze

I carry, how I moisten the earth before I probe
deep between river stones and roots—

this is who I am, though I don’t live here anymore.
Trim the overwrought branches and new growth,

lift the canopy, the weight of you,
struggling too slim arms from the dirt.

That if I leave a year, two, I can come back,
sneak into this yard I no longer own, find

the house, rake the brittle debris around you
and balm this arid space. Tremble as I close the gate,

start the rental car, the weed choked alley brushing
the ticking under belly, where I once was.

Musical composition by Victor David Sandiego

Laura Madeline Wiseman has a doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she teaches English and creative writing. She is the author of seven collections of poetry, including Sprung (San Francisco Bay Press, 2012) and Unclose the Door (Gold Quoin Press, 2012). She is also the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). Her writings have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Margie, Arts & Letters, Poet Lore, and Feminist Studies. She has received awards from the Academy of American Poets and Mari Sandoz/Prairie Schooner, and grants from the Center for the Great Plains Studies and the Wurlitzer Foundation.


Very nice. I love the voice and music in mix with the tone. I could smell the earth and feel the twinge in your heart.
Joseph Robinson | Inside Out Wisdom, Apr 23, 2014
What better way to describe displacement and return? And a whole lot more. Wonderful poem
Diana Anhalt, Aug 05, 2013