"Any Winter" by Maia Carlson
There is this urge as I perch on my porch and tip my frown towards
the stubborn, root-bound
rose, the trailing
vine, the valiant
weed, looking at me like blithe
dryads with their peridot eyes
and periwinkle smiles.
There is this urge to bring them all inside before Winter can get her claws on them.
I feel like a greedy god who will not share. An amnesiac, stupid god, who willfully
forgets year after
year that plants love
the earth first,
a far distant second,
even though I’d never set loose
Winter’s cold hounds on them, never crush the heads upon my lap with fists of frost.
But I’m a heart-sore god who dies a little in the most pathetic way when I see
all the earth’s green things
bending their heads
to the bitter, biting chill
their supplicant hands rimed
while I’m warm and toasty inside, all of Summer’s spoils at my altar.
Surely I have room for them all? Surely my current fussy, root-bound nestlings--
my haughty, secretive orchids
whose flowers I’ve forgotten the colors of;
my African Violets with their velveteen lips
and persnickety hearts;
that plant I lost the name of,
but who grows uproariously as a testament to my mothering—
wouldn’t mind just a bit more chlorochrous company? Another refugee from Winter or two?
It would only be for the winter, I tell myself. Only for the winter, until they love me first,
until the warmth of my hearth
can sink into their roots,
until they live on my exhale,
bloom when I inhale.
I’m like a cat closing its paws
and sinking its sickle claws into soft feathers, and saying, “I’ll only only love you so hard.”