The National Poetry Review

Hannah VanderHart

IF CHILDHOOD WERE ACCORDING TO BERRIES AND FLOWERS

My name would be written in the book
of life: clusters of foxberries and trumpet vines,

white and purple clovers, dandelions,
blackberries and dewberries, the tiny

wild strawberries and bittersweet—even
its yellow flowers I could put in my mouth,

fill my hands with purple archangel and henbit;
we made clover chains for our wrists and hair,

picked mullein for the sheer softness
of its leaves; I thought beauty and delight,

goodness, ended there, in the woods, in the
yard—now I know even guidebooks disagree

on what to catalog: I search them all
for purple deadnettle, which I remember

every spring while forgetting its name.
What if we could stay with the flowers—

what if beauty and truth were all
there were? Keats would have loved

my unmolested childhood. The mayapples
lifting. The cherries we hung from our ears.


HANNAH VANDERHART lives in Durham, NC. She has poetry and reviews published and forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, Poetry Northwest and elsewhere. Her book, What Pecan Light, is forthcoming from Bull City Press, and she is the Reviews Editor at EcoTheo Review. More at: hannahvanderhart.com.

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