Poem-A-Day: Mary Wemple

Today I’m sharing the last of the new Mutabilis Press anthology poems for this year’s series. Make no mistake, there are many other poems from this most recent book that I would like to curate into my annual Poem-A-Day, but some of them will have to wait for next year, because April is drawing to a close.

I cannot express enough how much I love today’s poem by Mary Wemple. It continues this year’s informal and occasional continuum of sowing and nurturing, and it speaks to us in language both accessibly plain and elegant.

It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me well that I have trouble keeping plants alive, but I’m not so terrible so far (knock on wood) at growing animals. I have two adolescents and three cats in my house, including a ten-week-old kitten named Feyruz rapidly ingratiating herself into the household. She gambols about all night and then finally settles down on top of my husband or me to purr herself to sleep; she’s so loud I’ve given her the nickname Iron Jenny. During the day we’ve been letting her interact with our adult cats, Salaadin and Sheherazade, and they’ve slowly started becoming if not friends, at least not enemies, most of the time. One day Feyruz will be big enough to hold her own in a wrestling match with Salaadin and won’t seem like just a miniature version of Sheherazade.

One Day You Will be Tall Enough

We found you in the backyard
at the edge of the path to the garage.
You had pushed your way out
of a layer of gravel.

We decided to dig you up
and replant you a little closer to the fence
where you wouldn’t get stepped on
so easily.

The remains of Bunny and Harry
are just south of you now.
As you grow up, you’ll get closer to them,
touch their shrouds,
maybe curl into their soft fur.

They say it’s like winning the lottery,
the likelihood of a seed to root.
We think you came from the cypress
across the street.
One day you will be tall enough to see her,
wave back at her in the wind.

Look up. The sky is open for you here.
A mocking bird trills a car alarm sequence,
The freeway moans in the distance.

Mary Wemple is a poet, artist and creator of Words & Art, a reading and workshop series inspired by the art in Houston.  She holds degrees in English and Studio Art from the University of Houston and an MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art.  Her poetry has been published in DiVerseCity 2015, Houston Poetry Fest 2005, 2009, 2014, Harbinger Asylum and she was featured in the 2014 Words Around Town! poetry tour lineup.  Her art has been shown at the Inman gallery, DiverseWorks and Lawndale Art Center.

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