Vinni Marie D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.


Text Box:

by Vinni Marie D'Ambrosio, in Le Pagine (Rome), tr. Luigi Bonaffini

"This Is Verbena!"

for Cynthia



The moss accidentally


so well that the whole backyard

had the look of a billiard table.


My child and I, we

raked it gently. We expelled all grass. We'd

sweep one leaf off with our softest broom

toward a pocket by the fence.


We were soon Japanese about clutter,

about litter.

A praying mantis was barely permitted,

butterflies let in only if plain.


A botanist arrived, told us, "When moss

appears, it is a sign that soil lacks . . . ."


We would not hear what, would not

supply what.


My child and I, we

encouraged the moss,

praised the minimalism,

kept on narrowing the range of greens,


so that under our maple

never again would I cause

her eyes to darken

with pain and loss,


nor shake her small shoulders

in a hunger

to arm her too soon

(her words not ready)

with my own armor,

the richness of syllables

then ripe in our garden -


"This is verbena!

This is gaillardia, this, portulaca,

this, hydrangea,

this, anemone" -


each flower

a poem

and a treachery.

Copyright © 2008 by Vinni Marie D'Ambrosio

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