March. Flowers.

At the co-op, the words are: dirty March. So much snow, rain, the deep ooze of mud, what feels like the very faraway promise of green. Returning home, the teenager has burned herself reading on the back deck. One cat let the other eat his dinner and yowls plaintively, furiously, at household injustice. Stove ash and common dust have invaded the house. Sunlight spills through the windows onto the floor.

March: the season of radiant joy, sullen unhappiness. I lie awake and wonder about my own private death: next week, next month, or four decades from now? I decide the only reasonable course is to bargain for forty more years on this planet, and inevitably take what comes.

Thursday, the day dawns with the scent of loosening mud. The rain slides in. Midday, redwing blackbirds.

A good day for a poem:

Flowers, by Cynthia Zarin

This morning I was walking upstairs
from the kitchen, carrying your
beautiful flowers, the flowers you
brought me last night, calla lilies
and something else, I am not
sure what to call them, white flowers,
of course you had no way of knowing
it has been years since I bought
white flowers—but now you have
and here they are again. I was carrying
your flowers and a coffee cup
and a soft yellow handbag and a book
of poems by a Chinese poet, in
which I had just read the words “come
or go but don’t just stand there
in the doorway,” as usual I was
carrying too many things, you
would have laughed if you saw me.
It seemed especially important
not to spill the coffee as I usually
do, as I turned up the stairs,
inside the whorl of the house as if
I were walking up inside the lilies.
I do not know how to hold all
the beauty and sorrow of my life.

4 thoughts on “March. Flowers.

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