I wrote this poem many years ago, but these photos, and this poem, still tell a story worth repeating about a remarkable woman.
Earlier than we dare to hope
for any native color beyond
the hard buds of maples sheening
the hills with faint rose, the cupped
crocuses shoot up yellow,
purple, white — orange hearts
studding Helen’s front yard.
Helen was a loose farmer — what bloomed
bloomed wherever; greenhouse customers
would leave a note and payment
clothespin-clipped to a board
by the broken door; eggs were sold
from an old refrigerator propped outside,
cartons stacked next to the change box.
So when the blood blossomed
in her brain as she drove to pick up
pig scraps from the restaurant,
she just pulled to the shoulder, planted
her foot on the brake and waited.
Three seasons later, hardy and startlingly
new, here again, her crocuses.