Produced by Dennis Camire

This week’s poem is by Robin Merrill of Madison Maine. Her most recent book is “Almost Touching: New and Selected Poems.”


Ferris Rhubarb

By Robin Merrill


My first spring in the old house, the snow melted
and underneath fifty years’ worth of tenants’
cigarette butts, dog poop, and old-fashioned trash
left by drive-by teenagers, there was the rhubarb.
Property line twenty inches from the house,
eighteen were taken up by rhubarb as proud
as I’m sure the Ferrises were when they built this town
out of dust and when they faced a depression
that made them sell it all save the main house
and the twenty inches on each side, when they sat
on this front porch in long black dresses and toked on opium,
when they pinched pennies between their toes and sold
farm fresh eggs to pay off the wolves, when they planted
the perennial rhubarb. It can’t be killed, despite the dogs
and winters and the evolution of a small dirt town, despite
all the Ferrises migrating south, dying off, or changing names,
their rhubarb is clean and strong this spring, and I just found it.


Dennis Camire can be reached at [email protected]

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