This poem by Jeanne Wagner was the winner of the Cloudbank 16 Poetry Prize.
Seeing Our Prunus cerasus in Bloom, I Remember Your Short Life by Jeanne Wagner
Between our two lives there is also the life of the cherry blossom. ― Matsuo Basho
At fifteen, I dressed in the white froth
that was my first formal,
tiny pink buds stitched along the tulle.
My neck and shoulders bare.
You’re blossoming they all said,
almost making the sign of the cross
to fend off their fears.
This morning I saw our Prunus cerasus
stricken into beauty. Suddenly
it’s become a Seurat, a hazy Monet.
The bees, a faint tickling inside the bud.
I know they feel its rapture, sense
how the fragile blooms will soon confetti
and sail off with every random breeze.
Years ago, I got back from the hospital
to find the cherry trees had turned.
I thought their beauty a travesty then,
the prodigal way it happens:
blossoms falling from branches
like spent birds. I think of the word
blastula, from the Greek for bud.
A sound like a small detonation.
Briefly, one thing lives inside another.
Yet every year the bees come
back, feeding on its bliss.
Poets and writers in Cloudbank 16
Ginny Lowe Connors
Jannie M. Dresser
Laura Reece Hogan
Sheree La Puma
James K. Zimmerman
Poems and flash fiction in this issue include “Buying Stuff” by Joe Harper, “Launch Sequence” by Gabriel Spera, “War Games” by Gary Soto “Divorce” by Lynn Stearns, and “But Here’s the Thing” by Cory Brown.