I was ill, lying on my bed of old papers,
when you came with white rabbits in your arms;
and the doves scattered upwards, flying to mothers,
and the snails sighed under their baggage of stone . . .

Now your tongue grows like celery between us:
Because of our love-cries, cabbage darkens in its nest;
the cauliflower thinks of her pale, plump children
and turns greenish-white in a light like the ocean’s.

I was sick, fainting in the smell of teabags,
when you came with tomatoes, a good poetry.
I am being wooed. I am being conquered
by a cliff of limestone that leaves chalk on my breasts.

  • Rita Dove, “The Secret Garden” from Yellow House on the Corner (Pittsburgh: Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1989). Copyright ©1989 by Rita Dove. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

  • Source: Yellow House on the Corner (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1989)

Poet Bio

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"I did not expect to like Poetry Out Loud, truthfully. My first year, I did not want to compete at all.Somewhere along the line, I fell in love with the program and have learned so much about poetry, performing, and expression throughout the last three years."
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2017 NV POL Champion