Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 15, Number 1
Copyright © 2020
by Leah Browning, Editor.
All future rights to material
published in the Apple
Valley Review are retained
by the individual authors
by Trina Gaynon
Flower may be good enough for Thumper
and the husband who admires them on our dining table,
but follow me. There’s bougainvillea, what you call
its flowers are leaves covering up wicked thorns,
an evergreen. There’s Lily of the Nile, the white ones
developed by Luther Burbank. It’s a perennial and bulb,
like the day lily, whose petals close as the sun sets.
You probably recognize some of the annuals:
Petunia, pansy (they’ll bloom through winter), snap
dragon. You can coax seeds out of the fading flowers
for the following year or let them reseed themselves.
Some are better than others at this, nasturtiums
or four o’clocks. Impatiens are a good shade plant,
coming in double blooms and tones of mauve and pink.
The New Zealand breed is heartier.
I don’t know what that one is called. Or I forgot,
missing my orange book, the one with page after page
of pictures and code words like deciduous and herbaceous.
Perhaps it was so battered I left it behind when I moved.
But I keep searching bookshelves for its orange cover.
Didn’t I know the flowers would be the same? The code
the same. The green the same, though the air can
be hotter, the dry season longer, the river banks concrete.
by Trina Gaynon
He drives up in a Pac Bell truck,
ready to fix my phone
though 611 said my instrument
was at fault, my twenty dollar phone.
He bellies up to the outside wall,
hugging the paint to avoid
the spines of an ancient cactus
and the kitchen window, swung open
to air out the Saturday morning smell
of fried potato and onions.
Finding no problem in the gray box
that splits the wires coming into the house,
he climbs a ladder he leans
against the brick wall that separates us
from looming apartment buildings
and swings up the spiked pole
into Ponderosa pine branches
where a limb weighs down the black wire
bringing electric pulses to me.
He reaches out to clip the taut wires,
lets them fall towards the house.
I lose my ability then to call out,
as I had lost the ability to receive
calls only days before.
While he replaces the wires, I take
a walk, looking back to see him
smiling, standing in a shaft of sunshine
and rolling up a piece of cable.
Trina Gaynon’s poems have appeared in Awake in the
World, Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, Bombshells:
War Stories and Poems by Women on the Homefront, and
other anthologies. Her work has also appeared in numerous
journals including Natural Bridge, Reed, Valley Voices, and
The Timberline Review. Gaynon’s chapbook An Alphabet
of Romance, published in 2013, is available from Finishing
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