COUNTRYSIDE IN REVERSE
thou hast thy music too,—
from “To Autumn” by John Keats
Last year the apple tree bore no fruit; source? Slow growth.
This year, branches hang to the ground, globes of slow growth.
As always, many of these apples are knuckled,
but this year many are perfect, orbs of slow growth.
Memory you crumble the distance, then to now;
random apple trees in the woods – souls of slow growth.
The garden is a tousled bounty of peppers;
Cherry, Marconi, Cubanelle – corps of slow growth.
The land, desiccated and cooling, can barely
expunge the butternut’s leaves, those robes of slow growth.
Grandfather, please limp to me, holding out a bean,
or a potato, a golden stone of slow growth.
The rogue tomato in the geraniums is
the diadem of all the plants — verb of slow growth.
Even the asters, closers of fall, move backwards,
The entire countryside a harp of slow growth.
John L. Stanizzi is author of the collections Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, High Tide – Ebb Tide, Four Bits, Chants, Sundowning, and POND. John’s poems have been widely published and have appeared in Praxis, Prairie Schooner, The Cortland Review, American Life in Poetry, The New York Quarterly, and many others. His work has been translated into Italian and appeared in El Ghibli, and others. John, a former Wesleyan University Etherington Scholar, and New England Poet of the Year, is the Flash Fiction Editor of Abstract Magazine TV, John teaches literature at Manchester Community College in Manchester, CT and he lives with his wife, Carol, in Coventry. https://www.