Where Can Jimmy Be?

I can’t believe that each time I pass by
I stop and stare at this plot of dark ground
under the Buckeye Tree
in front of our home
even when it’s raining

It’s an annual insanity
properly institutionalized
since we first buried the Hostas here
two years ago
in a ring around the tree

Harriet and Nancy are by the sidewalk
Leon is up toward the house
Marie and Ramona and Sylvia edge the lawn
and Celeste and Randolf guard the drive
but I don’t know where Jimmy is

I am fine throughout the winter
until the first pushes its purple-green snout
up through the brown soil
but then my staring obsession returns as though
expecting them to throw off their winter covers
and suddenly leap into full summer’s bloom

Early Hostas are masters of disguise
hard to see against that dark background
and so I watch
counting each new sprout
over and over again
I imagine terrorist cabals of snails and slugs
plotting against their tender leaves

Behind me in the yard I hear Dandelions
taunting me with choruses of “Catch me if you can”
the grass chanting, “Grow tall, grow thick, grow fast
while the ground is still wet”
but my team slowly assembles
Ramona and Sylvia come in early
Celeste and Randolf come in last
we’re waiting just for Jimmy now
I wonder why he’s late?

Marv Himmel
April1, 2011 ©

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