Charles Rammelkamp


“Tulips in the garden, tulips in the park.
But the tulips I like best are two lips in the dark.”

I love the idea of garden flowers,
but other than the butter-yellow daffodils
erupting each April in our yard,
the azalea that blossoms like a bride,
neither with any help from me,
I’ve just never been much of a gardener.

Last spring I bought a kit for rain lilies,
seduced by the pink blossoms on the box,
opening in five- or six-leaved petals
so like a small child’s hand,
an impulse purchase at the grocery,
but I never got around to planting them,
the box still unopened
as summer comes to an end.

Yet the same impulse grabbed me
only weeks ago at the same grocery,
a display of tulips bulbs,
and this time I followed through,
forcing myself to find
the shovel, the trowel, the watering can,
digging a trench six inches deep,
spacing the bulbs at even intervals,
covering them with the loose dirt,
tamping down the earth, watering it.

Now how I look forward to spring,
still two seasons and six months away,
the tulips joining the daffodils in a splash of color,
how I will exult in the cup-like blooms,
how like a father I will feel.


Charles Rammelkamp is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore, where he lives and Reviews Editor for Adirondack Review. His most recent books include American Zeitgeist(Apprentice House) and a chapbook, Jack Tar’s Lady Parts ( Main Street Rag Press). Another poetry chapbook, Me and Sal Paradise, is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press.

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