It Takes One

From the nursery,
the lantana was yellowed.
Why we bought that one,
is beyond me,
but my wife was insistent
that that be the one we take home.
I wanted the one with the blooms.

They create a berry
before they create the flower;
it's inedible,
but then again, so
are a lot of things.

In the midmorning,
before the sun hits its zenith
and boils over,
she is there in the garden,
her fingers slowly working
the soil like a
baker.
The plants grow in her footprints,
making it easy for her to move.
I sip my coffee and watch her
float from the fennel to the ferns.
So this lantana,
blackened as it was,
was probably perfect for her.
She took it into her arms,
a doting mother,
not looking down at it,
but straight forward,
confident,
modeling confidence.

I dig her hole
and she nods her assent.
Good enough,
she says,
and smiles at me.
I step back because I can't
watch her transform.
My eyes cannot grasp her.
Every night,
this thing,
this lifeless twig,
sees her.
She comes out in the morning and once again for dinner.
Every day
she touches this root.
She pours out onto it
the only thing they have in common.

Perhaps I'm naive.
Perhaps I'm a cynic,
but I've seen it before.
The care given is
not care reciprocated.
But this lantana is different.
She sweats,
it sweats.
She eats it in,
and it grows more fruit.

Her fingers worked raw,
but before the summer hits,
a single pink flower arrives overnight,
headlights in the driveway,
a son coming home.

I find her in the morning,
in her nightgown,
arms across her chest,
wind in her hair,
eyes upon the blossom,
tear in her eye.
Reflected in the blossom
is a single dew drop,
as if saying for once,
I agree.
Her scars are healed over from that
plant.
-JR Simmang

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