The hiking trail takes me uphill
And then through wetlands in the woods,
The river still ahead. It’s dark
In here, the water black. I slosh
Through shallow pools, rock hop,
Cross a crude boardwalk, and notice
Marigolds, marsh marigolds,
Half grown but glowing in the dusk,
Their cup-shaped, deep green leaves
Still small, their yellow flowers
Still more bud than bloom, and think
Of country girls with whom I went
To grade school way back when.
Jeanie, Sandy, Margie, Joyce . . .
I’m so surprised to find you here,
Half hidden in the cedar shade,
And after all these years
Author Comment: One spring morning, I went out to scout a trout stream on a trail I’d never walked, and halfway to the river, I found myself in a cedar swamp with a fairytale feel when those marsh marigolds surprised me. I had to think before their name came back to me, the way we hesitate when we encounter a friend we haven’t seen in some time; hence, the repetition: Marigolds, marsh marigolds. That effort to remember, plus the gratitude and tenderness I felt toward them after the long winter, triggered the deeper recollection of those girls I’d known so long ago.
Bio: The author of eight books, Bart Sutter is the only writer to win the Minnesota Book Award in three different categories–poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. His most recent full-length collections are The Reindeer Camps and Other Poems (BOA Editions, 2012) and Chester Creek Ravine: Haiku (Nodin Press, 2015). Nordic Accordion: Poems in a Scandinavian Mood will be published by Nodin Press in 2018. He has written for public radio, had four verse plays produced, and often performs as one-half of The Sutter Brothers, a poetry-and-music duo.