A Walk by the Old House before Visiting the Nursing Home

by John Hoppenthaler

The crape myrtle & how it got there.
It’s blooming seemed to take forever.

Keep an eye on every crack
in the sidewalk. The rosemary

has grown enormous. One might grind
a sprig under one’s sneaker; later it laces

the common room’s stale afternoon air.
Your other eye is, of course,

focused on a Godforsaken prize.
You’ll break your mother’s back & then some.

See how awfully she wants to go home?
She envies you the ratty sneakers,

how just now you seemed capable of anything.

JOHN HOPPENTHALER’s poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney’s, Southern Review, Christian Science Monitor, Barrow Street, The Laurel Review, Copper Nickel, Blackbird, and Subtropics, and in many other publications. His essays, interviews, and essay/reviews appear in such journals as Arts & Letters, Southeast Review, Chelsea, Bellingham Review, Pleiades, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poetry, North Carolina Literature, Cortland Review, and Kestrel, where he is served as Poetry Editor for eleven years. He currently edits A Poetry Congeries at Connotation Press: An Online Artifact. He is the author of two books of poetry, Lives of Water and Anticipate the Coming Reservoir, both from Carnegie Mellon University Press.