“Chamomile for the Molokans” by Katy Brown, published in The Poeming Pigeon: Poems from the Garden, released in May 2017 by The Poetry Box.
Chamomile for the Molokans
The spider checks her web for moths
that might have strayed in dim starlight
into sticky death. She lives in the corner
above my doorway: a reminder for me
of the cycle of all things.
I watch her patch a ragged hole,
then take my shears and make my way
into the fields beyond the last porch light.
Here, the wild and tame have grown together.
Here the owl patrols on silent wings.
I’ve been harvesting sorrow this month,
a task best done by the dark of the moon:
angelica for protection and myrrh for mourning,
rosemary to remember, snowdrops for consolation.
And chamomile for the Molokans.
Which plant, which root or stem or flower
will give my heart song, again? Which is the herb
for breath? for moving-on?
What wreath or tea or infusion will bring about
redemption — will make up for unsaid things —
will bring back the moments, lost forever?
The light is coming up, again, turning pearl
behind the western mountains. It is time
to give-way to dawn, to return home.
Enough gathering of sorrow for one night.