“Now I Know” by stephanie roberts

Early September unfolded and the magnolia that
dragged its resolve through another Canadian season
sported leaves swissed by the sempiternal hunger
of Japanese beetles.

Pay no mind. This life of leaves
dwindle. Instead, move eye to where
leaf joints slim branch, already next year’s
sweet-gasps swell there.

Magnolia shudders, as stars and saucers
of incense—a brilliance I’d been ignorant of
in Brooklyn, but now I knew.
Now I know,

the first cucumber on the vine needs to go
pronto or the vine hesitates to set more fruit.
That first grief wakes the whole heart to its task
sometimes forever.

To coax an apple tree, two years stingy,
back to its business of pome making, take
shovel to root across dripline; threaten
its lazy ass with return to New York.

Oh it will hop to apple-making quick-fast
next year. Even a natural thing can forget
what it’s made to do. Use verse to cleave
feed roots. Make it dissolve the salt of its mortality.


stephanie roberts is a poet and interdisciplinary artist. Her work is featured or forthcoming in numerous journals, in North America and Europe, including Arcturus, The Maine Review, The Stockholm Review of Literature, Burning House Press, The Gambler, and Claudius Speaks. She was a finalist in the Anomalous Press Open Reading, the 7th Fortnight Prize of Eyewear Publishing LTD, Medusa’s Laugh Press Nano Text Contest, and the Causeway Lit 2016 Fall Poetry Contest. The self-published author of the poetry collection The Melting Potential of Fire, she counts among her strengths passionate curiosity and good humor. Twitter @ringtales.

© stephanie roberts