The flower garden around the corner grows
ever larger, requires ever more water,
and the owner worries its vastness
maps her level of stress.
But Zippy the tulip tree thrives
in the park without being watered.
Planted to commemorate
the demolished neighborhood school,
named by the final class of seven children,
Zippy shows off its first flowers.
Along roads and trails,
wild parsnip grows rampant,
fills abandoned lots with cool green
that disguises the sickening burn.
Doghowls of sirens increase
day and night, and I try not to worry
about whoever needs help at three a.m.
How can I complain that the airport
in Warsaw has no drinking fountains?
Written in observance of World Toilet Day, which promotes awareness that much of the world walks hours for a bucketful of water to wash hands or clothes, that lack of water is invasive to people's dignity, and that more people have a mobile phone than a toilet. The poem also addresses the invasiveness of stress, demolition and urban development, weeds, and noise pollution.
Zippy grows in the northeast corner of Churchill Park in Kingston, across the street from the former St. Joseph St. Mary Catholic School, and was named in 2014 by my son’s kindergarten class.
About this Poem
Meg Freer grew up in Montana and teaches piano in Kingston. Her writing has won awards and has been published in anthologies and journals such as Ruminate, Vallum, Young Ravens Literary Review, Eastern Iowa Review and Rat’s Ass Review. In 2017 she won a fellowship and attended the Summer Literary Seminars in Tbilisi. She enjoys photography, being active outdoors year-round, and running, and wishes she had more time for writing poetry.