Tangled Villanelle

Near an abandoned lot grown wild with vines,
at a busy intersection, under
fish crows assembling on the power lines
I share a crowded bench, watch for signs
of a bus, notice the bruised clouds, wonder
what grows in that lot—are they coral vines?
They're not in bloom, their leaves take better eyes
than mine to name from this distance. Thunder,
grackles whistling above the power lines,
people chatting on the bench. A boy whines
about the wait; his complaint grows louder,
wilder, abandoned. Passionflower vines?
A native plant given half a chance twines
up through scabbed concrete, will wholly cover
power poles, hide starlings in tangled lines
of dark vines thick as tongues, just as hard rains
will beat the bus, drench us—me, the kid, our
abundant lot, the wildly growing vines,
and all the birds thronging the power lines.
Carol Todaro


Carol Todaro

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