Dogwood

By William Johnson William Johnson
Dog days doggone dog-tired dogwork of summer,
mowing the grass we're all coming to

the dog tags of you, me, I, we, stashed in a box,
doghouse throwaways. Even the namesake

tree whose blossoms some call Jesus-flowers
for the rust-grooved tips of the petals

as if nails now removed had indented
the shape of a cross, betrays my mood

how all those springs ago
seeing our tree nailed with bloody after bloody

crucifix I said this beauty's no foo-foo
and sure enough my dog-weary dearie

mowing today, the spring long gone,
I brush a limb on whose tired leaves mites amble

the edible thoroughfares and as if to confirm it,
our neighbor's mutt runs along the fence yapping

dogwood dogwood dogwood as the mower chugs on,
our train leaving for the city beneath the grass.

Source: Poetry (January 2008).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the January 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2008
 William  Johnson

Biography

William Johnson teaches at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. His collection of poems,Out of the Ruins (Confluence Press, 1999), was named Idaho book of the year, and he was awarded an NEA Fellowship in poetry for 2007.

Continue reading this biography

Poems by William Johnson

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Nature, Spring, Trees & Flowers

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.