Posts Tagged ‘neglect’



I return to find the basil dead,

wilted and browned, dull limp flags.


And the cosmos, bent and spent

and dead. And the beans, dead.


And the marigolds, still brilliant,

but the forked tongues of their leaves


say they are dead. What a difference

one night of cold can make, how


no matter how warm the season has been,

it irrevocably changes things.


It doesn’t matter I knew it would happen

eventually. The petunias fall all over themselves


in profuse bloom as if to say, it’s okay,

not all is lost, but it’s enough to make a woman


decide to pay attention, to be warm

in every garden she enters.


Some blooms defy the seasons.

There’s so much beauty at stake.

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Of course I forgot them, the impatiens
that I had left out on the deck. I forgot
them on the coldest night of the spring.
Sure they looked okay in the morning,
but by afternoon, they were darkened
and sullen and droopy things, dead.
How many times have I neglected
the ones that I love? How many
nights have I left them in the cold,
not for lack of love, but out of simple
absentmindedness? It is not that I didn’t
expect the cold, but I was distracted
with my own small sufferings.
Sometimes I’m sorry is not enough.
That is when I promise myself
to do better, to be more aware,
more generous, less blinded
to what’s happening all around me
in the world. But soon enough,
there’s this wound and this deadline,
this loss and this wish, and I just
don’t notice how cold it is,
the thermometer dropping,
the quiet leaves doing what leaves do.

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