One winter morning seven birds came
to the feeder and I could only name three:
cardinal, sparrow, crow. I know two types
of cherry tree now, and the order they bloom
in spring: first the okame, then the kwanzan.
The magnolia around the block blooms in between.
By early summer daffodils and tulips are gone,
but clematis blossoms in a riot up the lamppost
and daylilies burst forth, one by one,
while my roses wilt and we pick the last
few strawberries. The first tiny tomatoes
are budding green on the vine, with names
like cherokee purple and sungold,
and the zucchini is in its first flower.
I’ll bake loaf after loaf of bread with it
before summer’s end. I even know the shape
of a robin’s nest, saw the fledgling’s
first flight, held the last unhatched blue egg
in my hand. Owning this house has taught me
so much about what’s outside it, given color
and depth to how I understand plant, bird, tree.
Even ivy, familiar to everyone:
I didn’t even know what ivy was like
until I tried to destroy it.