by Megan Buchanan
We’ll never mow the grass, hardly ever
rake the leaves. Adopt a goat for the lawnmowing
and squirt her milk into strong tea.
Rainy days we’ll build birdhouses
with daffodil views, sip nettle soup
three times each spring
as you grow into the Aran cardigan
handed down from Helen
and from Sarah before that.
Blackberries sleep tight in quilted jars,
sand whispers between summer sheets
and fairy milk’s left on the sill, reflecting night
as moonlit clothes snap
out on the line, extended
From Clothesline Religion © Green Writers Press, 2017.
Reprinted with permission.
Whenever I read this poem, I imagine the speaker curled up in bed with her daughter as “sand whispers between summer sheets,” and they conjure a future “dreamlife” together. Though our dreamlives can often run to the material, focusing on what we don’t have, I love the tangible simplicity of the objects that populate Megan Buchanan’s poems. In this one, I can taste that milky tea, that slightly bitter “nettle soup,” and I can see those birdhouses built “with daffodil views.” But the poem shifts with the line, “Blackberries sleep tight in quilted jars,” as Buchanan seems to suggest that everything is already right in this family’s small galaxy. The day’s pleasant tasks have been finished, the picked berries canned for jam—I can see the speaker rubbing the “quilted” sides of the glass jars—and the laundry done, as “moonlit clothes snap/out on the line.” Perhaps when we reach the poem’s final lines, we sense the speaker’s gratitude for a life that already feels like a “dreamlife,” no stretch of fantasy needed to make it feel complete.