Wisteria

Violet, whispered Eve, because
saying the names aloud

made the act too real. Pansy
and woodruff, the flowers so small

some of them, she was afraid
they’d be forgotten—though what did she know

about forgetting, when she had
no past at all? She took to her task

immediately, absorbed by the strange
courage to assign names to things. Adam

was on the other side of the garden, away
from her for the first time. Snapdragon

and Coral Bells; the sensuous sounds
rolled across her tongue, although

she didn’t know sensuous yet. The untrod
path curved to the right. She stopped. No, not

the apple tree: that will come soon
enough. Here a twisting vine knuckles

through the gate that separates them
from another world.

Wisteria, she says—aloud this time—the syllables
as liquid to her as the blooms

dribbling from the branches
like slow rain.

Heather Hallberg Yanda teaches in the English department at Alfred University in the hills of upstate New York.

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Sojourners Magazine February 2009
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