Botanic Garden Silence

by Gail Waldstein

I walk      quiet      as the trees
transplanted alpine ponderosa
stunted at altitude      they stay short

in Denver      as though their genes
were trimmed           long needles sculpt
air horizontal                 as supplicant palms

wind stirs      the tall spruce      around them     but
these squat pines barely move
leaving      blue sky      unmarred      a wide

radiance      after such a long gray winter
thick with weather      and sickness
I choose a bench      long familiar

refuge after each divorce      crushed beneath
such failure      the rigor of      child-rearing
alone       fifteen years       plus

a punishing career       decades of
autopsies on       dead children

diagnosing malignant tumors
that decision      to be a pediatric pathologist
makes the choice of husbands––both bad

and bad for me                           compared to medicine
my marriages look      brilliant
sky hazes now       mountain-horizon littered with
stub pines       distant                                                     toothed and screaming

Copyright 2016, Gail Waldstein

A pediatric pathologist for 35 years, Gail Waldstein’s poetry has appeared in Nimrod, Harpur Palate, MacGuffin, Switched-On Gutenberg, and The Examined Life. She won first prize for Poetry in the 2013 Faulkner/Wisdom competition. Her poem, “The Hauntings,” won the Swan Scythe Chapbook Contest in 2014.

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