With boiling water, the dried flowers
will bloom again, pale green
and filigreed in the wire mesh of the strainer.
The tea is good for fevers, and to soothe anxiety
(if it is an anxiety that can be soothed).
Everyone in this town, the old man said,
wrapped in his coat even inside the store,
everyone is selling whatever they have.
His store the last one open on Main Street,
stocked from estate sales. Some days
he sells a brooch, a teacup, a nutcracker doll.
Lindens will give you shade,
give cover to the birds—
those glossy heart-shaped leaves—
and their flowers, white
and sticky, attract the bees.
There used to be lindens along Main Street.
Like everything else now, they’re gone.
At an estate sale, the shopkeeper found
a man older than he was
sitting in a back bedroom, the room
where he used to sleep. Now
strangers picked his things up, one by one,
and considered the cost.
“Linden” was previously published in About Place Journal
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