This entry is part 83 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011


Walking to the waterfront in hopes
we might watch the fireworks show tonight,

one of us kicked aside the sun-bleached
carcass of a bracken leaf. In the pagoda

garden, fireflies lit the ochre undersides
of leaves on the Japanese maple. Heat

hung like a bower of creosote flowers
in bloom, presaging rain. And sure enough

thunder rippled in the sky across the water,
rain came down in sheets. The only

smoldering on the horizon, a barb
of ragged light every now and then,

outlining the spires of ships. We sat
at an upstairs table in the crowded

restaurant where people had rushed
for shelter. Someone pushed open

a sliding door on the veranda and the cooled
air came rushing in, musty as the planks

on the wooden pier. But somewhere in the currents,
a vein of remembered scent; and I said, Gardenia.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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3 Replies to “Gardenia”

  1. But somewhere in the currents,/ a vein of remembered scent; and I said, Gardenia.


    Nosegay. That was how you called it, did you not?
    Could you have called the small bunch of gardenias
    a better name? A yellow and white bouquet maybe?

    But the flowers were scarce on the tree we knew
    stood between your fascination and fiercest dream:
    to collect a basketful of petals to strew on my path

    whether I was coming or going, or simply leaving
    our rock, the one you marked with entwined
    hearts and secret names we called each other.

    Neither the tides nor the brine will blur them,
    nor will battering waves erase them—promises
    you made with the scent of gardenia. I know.

    A smell of knowing is what I call it now. Across
    this table, while I snuggle close with every crack
    of thunder, bolts streaking light on your face,

    I hear your promise with the scent of gardenias.
    Will I ever forget why you called it nosegay?
    Flushed, you tried to explain but I kissed you then.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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