Someone Threw Down a Wildflower Garden in an Empty Lot in Newark

By Theresa Burns

Featured Art by  Robert Jacob Gordon

And now, instead of staring at the weeds
and broken bottles from the train platform,
we’re taking in a scene from a Monet.
Asters, cosmos, little yellow fists
of something. All random and confetti.
I’m half expecting a lady in a high-waist
dress and bonnet to appear on a diagonal
stroll through its splendor, pausing
with her parasol so we can selfie with her.
Maybe she’ll hop aboard the light rail
to the Amtrak station, get off in D.C.,
step back into the painting she escaped from.
Who was the genius who thought of this?
What meadow-in-a-can Samaritan
got sick of passing the four-acre eyesore
on the way to work? Shook pity into blossom.
To whom do I write my thank you?
Mayor, surveyor, county clerk, church lady.
Who marched down to city hall, begged
anyone who would listen?

Is this our time, between the harrow and the harvesting?
We don’t think so, Sir, but you never know.


Theresa Burns’ poetry, reviews, and nonfiction have appeared in The New York Times, Prairie Schooner, JAMA, The Cortland Review, The Night Heron Barks, SWWIM, and elsewhere. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and author of the chapbook Two Train Town. In 2020, she won runner up in The Poets Prize from The Journal of New Jersey Poets. The founder and curator of Watershed Literary Events, she teaches writing in and around New York.

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