Sidewalk Poem #6

The Wives

If I said, “Little wives,
shut in your dark
houses, an enormous
tiger lily splits
the roof of each house

in the night, and arranges
the moon to itself,
and only withdraws just at dawn,”
you would smile,

and think about bright
flowers, and forget
the money and the shopping,
but if I went on, “I only
see your lilies grow

in my happy sleep,
because you have made no gardens
in your blocks of houses
for flowers that come
in the dark night,”

you would suddenly
cry, or pick up a book,
or walk by yourselves
for a long time
on the white sidewalks.

[Children playing on front porch of a rowhouse. Lyndale Avenue North, Minneapolis, 1961. Img. MNHS.]

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