Skip to main content
/ A Gardener’s Words for the Day

A Gardener’s Words for the Day

by Priscilla Long

I stare out the window at the green 
Mahonia tree trembling as if in ecstasy, 
the miracle of bushtits, little brown birds
flitting, the flock in a frenzy of feeding.
I gaze at the winter garden, osoberry
in bud, hellebores blooming mauve, 
the sapling paper birch regal, its trunk 
all rubies and copper. I open my laptop 
to the pandemic—2 million dead, violence, 
non-mask-compliance, and in Washington
DC, windows smashed, swastikas.
I learn my new words: Follicle. Panicle. 
Petiole. Pedicel. Peduncle. Sedition.

Priscilla Long

About Priscilla Long

Priscilla Long is author of six books, the most recent of which is Holy Magic (MoonPath Press).  She is a Seattle-based writer of poetry, creative nonfiction, science, history, and fiction and a long-time independent teacher of writing. Her book of connected creative nonfictions is Fire and Stone: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (University of Georgia Press). Her first book of poems is Crossing Over (University of New Mexico Press). Learn more at

Cold Mountain Review is published once a year in the Department of English at Appalachian State University. Support from Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences enables CMR’s learning and publications program. The views and opinions expressed in CMR do not necessarily reflect those of university trustees, administration, faculty, students, or staff.