A Bed, a Bouquet, a Crown | Mary Anna Kruch

Don’t Mess with Fire
©2023 David Gretch

A Bed, a Bouquet, a Crown

Note:  The forest fires in Northern California
have left a teen, who longs for safety and
the return of her young man, homeless.

Inspired by the Napa Valley fires in October, 2018.
Shadows lengthen beneath the lone, live oak
at the edge of the vineyard,
branches spanning the late afternoon
and a girl with no home.
Wind hums through near-bare boughs,
invites owls to sun-warmed nests
as Mara rests at its base 
among the tall, grassy weeds.

Meadow grass and sorrel sprout
throughout the vineyard,
flatten in waves with a breeze 
then spring up as fresh as the roses
that used to punctuate each row of vines.
Since the Napa Valley fires last year,
there had been little work--fruit had shriveled 
on vines, turned to ash, and had long blown away.

Mara’s relatives had moved north 
to other camps, other harvests
while she remains behind,
each day waiting for Diego,
her young man, who searches for work.
She searches for safety and finds it,
like the deer, nestling among the tall, 
grassy weeds at the foot of a lone, live oak.

The sky darkens, showcases 
Andromeda, Princess of Ethiopia, 
and Cassiopeia, the Queen.
Mara sends a prayer to the universe,
floats off to sleep as snug as the owls 
that rest on branches above her.
For now, this is home.
Mara does not know how many nights

she lay dozing beneath the oak,
but each morning fields bloom yellow
with wild mustard. She shakes weeds 
from her hair, walks across fields of gold,
past stands of thistles -- much more than 
crimson weeds rosy as flushed cheeks.
As she nears the meadow’s edge,
her eyes rest upon broadleaf clover, 

dandelion and nutsedge. Collectively, 
these shape rich carpets of wildflowers –
more than enough bouquets to raise her spirits.
Mara pauses, chooses blue cornflowers, 
purple henbit and lovely pampas grass
to weave crowns – one for her, another for Diego;
for his she seeks coarse, blue-green grass,
long and unkempt like his beloved hair -- 

like the meadow grass waving and rustling
during the wait. She turns to walk back,
keeps an eye out for bindweed tangles
on tree trunks to tie bouquets and crowns.
Approaching her lone, live oak at the edge
of the vineyard, she moves toward
her resting place clutching crowns,
just as an old truck rumbles by and stops. 

Pushing aside the tall, grassy weeds,
she waits, wide-eyed, for the dust to clear.
From Grace Notes: a Memoir in Poetry & Prose (Goldfish Press, Seattle: 2021).

©2023 Mary Anna Kruch
All rights reserved

Mary Anna Kruch …

…is a poet inspired by nature, social justice, and her native Italy. She has published two books, We Draw Breath from the Same Sky (2019) and Grace Notes (2021). Recent poetry can be found in Wayne Literary Review and Trinity Review.



Be inspired… Be creative… Be peace… Be

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