Jacquelyn Shah

Jacquelyn Shah

From WTP Vol. VII #5

By Jacquelyn Shah

                          it doesn’t matter
if morning, its course having overtaken
the tacking darkness, is lightened suddenly
by something small and graceful, a lagniappe
in an overgrown lawn—herbertia.

It doesn’t matter, the pleasure of espial,
the taking home, identification—
all are swallowed in the next moment
as you watch your plumber plunge his arm
all the way to shoulder blade into a plugged overflow
heaving with homegrown ejecta.
It doesn’t matter that soft purple petals open out
from their petiole,
which lifts from a delicate liqueur glass
to brighten your dust-blown room.

All life is maintenance, someone said—
the light and lovely always cudgeled
by what’s gone flat—tires and cushions
astray—your son, the cat
to seed or pot—your garden, your body.

And sometimes it doesn’t matter
if the herbertia folds down into a grub,
night clubbing its way over your best hour,
if, as you kneel to scoop your orts and rinds
back into the trash bag—raccoon-raided—
you have the presence of eye to notice
a parti-colored suite of irises
rising from the grassy strip
all along your cracking driveway.

Jacquelyn Shah holds an MA, MFA, and PhD in English literature/creative writing and has received grants from the University of Houston and the Houston Arts Alliance. She is a founding member of Voices Breaking Boundaries, a Houston literary arts organization, and she has published poems in journals and anthologies such as Tar River Poetry, The Texas Review, Anon (Britain), Rhino, and Vine Leaves Literary Journal (Australia). Her poetry chapbook, Small Fry (Finishing Line Press), was published in 2017. A full-length poetry book, What to Do with Red (LitFest Press), was published in 2018. She is a recent winner of Literal Latté’s Food Verse Contest, and has poems forthcoming in other journals.

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