My Weeding. I Mean, Wedding
Linnaean botany was, at first, a suitable subject
for women, whose botanical drawings became part
of their parlor-room portfolio.
A skillful hand
replicate each line.
Replication is too much
especially when pistils and stamen
especially when pencils and stories
I am not a gardener.
I am not an artist.
Like the ladies in those
libraries, I hold a pen
some sketchy story of
what takes root here.
I have tried abstracting meaning from
the wild violets in our yard. They tell
a story of persistence, of
life rising against what is not
They are in our garden.
They are what I’ve drawn.
It must be time
In Disturbed Areas, I Grow Like a Weed
My grandmother and I sought them out,
flowers that exploded into
a universe of purple stars
around a purple center.
We never learned their name,
but we plucked them from
in the sidewalk
and carried them back to her house.
I found them again,
thirty years later, with
I had picked one surreptitiously
from someone’s yard.
I forgot about it until it fell
out of my book, brittle already. It had lost the geometric
that seductive spiralization that made me
pick more even when
enough was enough.
I had to know what it was.
The flower has been given more names than I have.
It has been called frog fruit, turkey tangle, match weed.
It has been called those things, and I almost wish those
had been the family names I’d taken on over the years.
I learned that it is
a cover plant
in disturbed areas,
Ornamentation continues to cover up domestic disturbances.
Coverture didn’t stop in the nineteenth century.
Emily Bowles started her career as a visiting professor of English and women’s studies. She published widely on Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn, Henry Fielding, Frances Brooke, and Eliza Lucas Pinckney before leaving academic work and turning to a career as a writer. She also volunteers for her community’s domestic violence shelter and is a contributor to the Library Journal and Women Magazine. She blogs at https://embowlden.blogspot.com/.