Poetry Porch: Poetry


The Geranium
By Hilary Sallick

I bought it at the grocery store
where it swayed in a line of others,
each suspended in its own plastic cell
in full sun
and covered by flowers.
I carried it here and hung it
above the rusty railing of the porch.
Soon its blossoming subsided.
Was there too little sun,
was it just worn out and finished
I studied the leaves’
rounded sections,
and felt its helplessness,
stranded on air, hanging apart,
no way to fend for itself.
Midsummer, it resumed its work,
always one or two clusters of buds
no more.     There is no perfect
I told myself.
In October, the leaves in sun
turned red along their edges
dark and darkening reds,
with a hint of green.
Was the chlorophyl in those leaves
used up faster? Was that it?

Under the shade of the porch,
the green stayed.
The days were getting colder.
I wasn’t going to keep it,
but it kept surviving.
On impulse one night,
late November,
I reached up high
and unhooked the wire that
held it there. I carried it indoors
almost reluctantly,
bulky beautiful sprawl
of it, half-red and half-green,
still budding.
With a kind of awe.
I placed it by the window.
Some leaves have withered
in the dry heat.
The flowers in silhouette
against the light
are like a painting
and keep coming.
It seems to be expanding.
I water it with care,
giving just enough so that
the bottom doesn’t flood out
over the papers and books
scattered on the floor
of the living room.
When the water trickles
onto those branching stems,
thick and delicately haired,
a fragrance rises up,
powerful and acute,
commanding me.

Copyright © 2021 by Hilary Sallick.