Katie Condon

Bound to Rot

I am trying to grow a flower garden that will live
up to the one my mother had when I was a girl
but I am negligent. I planted the bulbs too late—
they’re bound to rot under the early heat
of the quiet southern suburb in which I’ve found 
myself in the middle of my life and the squirrels 
are not helping my efforts, pulling up everything 
I am trying to obscure with dirt, scolding me 
through mouthfuls of fetal crocus: Stupid girl, 
there is no cure for death. This time, my mother 
is actually dying. A squirrel who’s had his fill 
wanders up an arthritic branch humming 
Ave Maria, a song I’ve always hated.

Katie Condon is the author of Praying Naked, winner of the 2018 Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize. Her new poems appear in or are forthcoming from the New Yorker, American Poetry Review and the Academy of American Poets' anthology 100 Poems that Matter. Katie is an assistant professor of English at Southern Methodist University.
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    César Dávila Andrade, Translated by Jonathan Simkins
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    Tomaž Šalamun, Translated from the Slovenian by Brian Henry