Praise for a June Morning

Praise for a June Morning

At half-dawn the male cardinal slams
his beak against my bedroom window,
time and again only to retreat
every few minutes to trill his maleness.

The mourning dove coo ooh oohs
in the woods as a smooth breeze
invites maple-greens to ride its flush –
to suggest fresh is how to start over.

Spurts of yellow nasturtiums hug a slope
and mud slimes an old shovel that pushed
tomatoes deep-rooted. I could as easily
list eight ways our world fails at justice,

but today belongs to shoots of corn
that aim to be tassled, the habanero’s intent
to burn my tongue speechless, a silence
to witness that parsley seeds sprout eventually

and beets inflate wrinkle seeds into taproots
come blood-red-round. All that inside a fence
to keep rabbits at bay. As in most praise,
threat waits. Even for the cottontail

or the silly cardinal who fights his own image
in a clean mirror as if he does not know
how we crave what is bold and strong
to stand out from pale pink azaleas

beneath the hawk’s predatory flight.

Tricia Knoll is spending time growing vegetables in a community garden plot. To read more of her poetry, visit

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