Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for Oleander


Sweet smelling oleander,
your fragrance hangs 
on the hot Phoenix air,
your narrow shaped leaves, 
like an olive tree,
Athena's gift
dark with promise.
You are toxic in every part,
like some men I have known,
dogbane to the heart.
I pass rows of you
planted along the freeways,
safely enclosed in my car,
belching out my own poison.

We moved to Glendale when I was a teenager, our house in a run-down neighborhood just outside of Phoenix. The two gigantic oleander bushes planted as guardians on either side of the front door did not protect us. Today's dark little poem came from that long ago time.

I learned that oleanders are the official flower of Hiroshima as they were the first flower to bloom there after the dropping of the Atomic Bomb, thus a symbol of renewal, rebirth and hope, despite its poison.

Oleander (Wikipedia)

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