PoetryIssue 14 | February 2012

The Changing of the Flowers

by Jennifer Saunders

Every year I try to catch the day, the hour –
I watch my Swiss neighbors for some sign
announcing the Changing of the Flowers,

that day when winter-hard heather
is pulled from planters and replaced by geranium.
The local wives divine the day, the hour

to pack away winter woolens, to scour
garden furniture and set the chairs in the sunshine.
As one, they begin changing the flowers.

As if guided by some telepathic power
they all hang crisp curtains on the clothesline.
I never know the day, the hour.

I hang my curtains weeks later, outward
sign of everything I misalign:
the chairs, the curtains, the changing of the flowers.

My immigrant’s clock runs counter
to this native marking of the time.
I try to catch the day, the hour,
but always miss the changing of the flowers.

About the author

Jennifer Saunders is an American living near Bern, Switzerland, with her Swiss husband and their two Swiss-American sons. Her work has appeared previously in Literary Bohemian as well as in Ibbetson Street Magazine, Literary Mama, Shot Glass Journal, and elsewhere. She currently has heather potted by her front door but is anxiously watching her Swiss neighbors for the first sign of change.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok