White Petals on the Road

The catalpa trees are blooming here. Do you know catalpa trees? They have heart-shaped leaves larger than my hand and, right now, big clumps of white blossoms.

I took a (fantastic) poetry class a few years ago, and the teacher told how she drove by a catalpa tree just after it had shed all its petals, and, wanting to remember the image, she wrote something wordy about fallen white petals blanketing the dark road. And then she forced herself to take out the bullshit. What is that, really? It’s white petals on the road. And she used those words in a poem much later. Seeing the catalpa trees blooming reminds me to keep things simple, to ask, What is that, really? and write down the answer.

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