The Changing of the Flowers

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…

Read the full bio

Issue 14 · February 2012

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