The Garden Shop of Bald Women

By Joan McBride


They come in cold and bare
to push carts around the store
picking over flats of flowers and
packets of seeds.
Their bright heads realize the value
of dormancy and promise,
and accept that the wind doesn’t blow
hair in their faces anymore.
Some women pull threads of
English Ivy to wind around their heads,
trailing the long vines like a veil.
Some hide their male-pattern baldness
with tufts of living moss.
Some tuck sun-struck daisies behind their ears and
a few chew rose petals and use the blood red spittle
to paint battle lines on their heads.
There is a way of weaving jasmine and
honeysuckle strands into fragrant wigs
where butterflies light and fireflies
tangle. I have seen women
bind the leaves of fig and myrtle
into helmets and roam the aisles of annuals
protecting the fragile violets and pansies.
But the garden store isn’t all trellises and bulbs
or promenades past the day lilies and
almond blossoms ready to burst – there are
shovels, rubberized gloves, long stakes
and bags of bug poison. There are
glazed pots big enough for a body and
bags and bags of dirt. The thick damp, darker
than night stuff. Warm to the touch, almost
heaving with wanting.

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