Today at school, my sinus headache made me grumpy with my students, even though they hadn’t done anything to make me grumpy. But I don’t think they noticed; they were grumpy too. One boy bravely volunteered answers and completed his work while holding a tissue to his nose the entire class period. One girl had to go to the bathroom due to a bloody nose. In one class, I counted nine sneezes. (Two of them were mine. One came from somewhere in the hallway.) Everyone who wasn’t actively sneezing, sniffling, or coughing stared at me with a vague, foggy expression.
All of this is to say… oak season has descended on Austin.
Ten days ago, I was writing on patios and taking walks at the Wildflower Center and sleeping in my hammock. Now, it feels like any one of those things could kill me. The pollen count is in the high to extreme-high range, which means every time I go outside for more than two minutes, my eyes start to itch, my sinuses swell up, and I start talking like the albino in The Princess Bride before he cleared his throat.
Ah, spring time.
I wrote a poem about oak allergies, which is in this year’s Texas Poetry Calendar. In honor of oak season and National Poetry Month, wipe off your glasses, put some drops in your eyes, and read “Yellow.” I’m going to go use my neti pot.
We are covered in cowardice,
seeped in a sickly smear
that sticks in crevices
and crow’s feet,
revealing all our lines.
We wade through
track fresh banana footprints
onto faded dandelion floors,
taste gold dust on our tongues.
We yield to the bitter grime
that clogs our nostrils,
clothing our lungs
in warning shades
with each breath.
During oak season,
we view the world
through a margarine haze,
learn how it feels
to be pollinated.
© Carie Juettner
8 thoughts on “Ode to Oak Season”
Oh man! I hope y’all feel better soon!
Thanks! Today was already better.
Oh my gosh, I love this! Almost too true to be funny. I hadn’t read this yet, so I’m glad you posted it. Happy National Poetry Month, buddy!
Thanks! Happy NPM to you too! I look forward to the rest of the poems you’re posting this month. 🙂
Poor Carie. 😕
Great poem, though! 💖
Thank you! I’m better today. Still yellow, but better.
I love the “We wade through fallen sunshine” imagery!
Thanks! 🙂 (In reality, wading through oak pollen is actually a lot less beautiful than that metaphor.)