There’s an obesity of roses weighing
down the stems in my back yard,
drenched by winter’s oh-my-god-
not-more-rain deluges so rare in these
parts that the lawn morphed into a
The roses live just off the lagoon, which
has at long last receded, giving way to
the healthiest crop of dandelions and
tiny English daisies in years. I wouldn’t
let the yard guys cut any of it till
the grass swished up to my calves.
It’s astonishing what an outrageous
amount of water can do.
Of course, it was an indecent supply,
causing flooding the likes of which
parched California rarely sees, snowpacks
of unfathomable heights in the mountains—
Donner Party snow—trapping some folks
in their cabins, snow packed on roofs and
up to the eaves.
I know a woman who, barely able to open
a window, dug a tunnel bit by bit into the wall
of white outside—with a garden trowel
she happened to have in her house.
Meanwhile, my fat roses in the flatland have
reveled in the feast of water, a lavish banquet
producing the most glorious bouquets. I hate
to cut them, taking only the ones bowed down
to the grass that will go quickly if left there.
But when I do, I load them into vases all over
the house, admiring them out loud every
chance I get.
The others left outside in their natural state
look like drooping, swollen breasts, unable
to lift themselves without help, fragrantly
crimson and cream, an embarrassing
extravagance. Every bush in the neighborhood—
the show-offy azaleas taking their final bows
every living thing brims in profusion,
delighting passers-by like me, who cannot
walk half a block without stopping multiple
times to, yes, smell the roses, then look up
into the still-sparkling blue sky and thank
the rain gods for such dazzling bounty.