Rusted nearly through at the base
of their pale green throat,
the amaryllis buds are trying to bloom,
like a person with a tracheotomy
trying to say a poem.
I snip off the buds, leaking dark red
from their diseased wound, trimming
them to clean pale stubs to put in water.
Day to day, the largest furled bud
is loosening into white wrapped wings.
The other three buds are tinier versions
of each other like Russian nesting dolls.
They are plumping with white petals
veined green but their nubs
are softening in the water and I don’t know
if they can ripen without earth.
Lying next to you on a sleety day
I look over at them for a lesson
I might learn, wondering
if I should furl my body closed
to protect myself–or whether I should open
deeper and deeper to you in case
this is the last of intimacy I will know.
About the poet:
Cathie Desjardins is a lifetime educator, writer and literacy specialist. Her first book of poems is With Child, and her second, Buddha in the Garden, is forthcoming. She is currently poet laureate of Arlington, MA.
About the poem:
“This poem was written after a scary biopsy. Successful surgery gave this health scare a positive outcome, but the poem is a reminder of the vulnerability of all of our bodies.”
Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer