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Petunias In November
By Rhina P. Espaillat

Through the gold windfall of the falling year,
clay pot and spade in hand, I set about
to bring them safe indoors, before the rout
of their last ragged blossoms, swaying here.

Lifting the web of roots that summer-long
bound them to Earth as to my flower beds,
I salvage for myself their nodding heads
and have a sense of somehow doing wrong:

It is not love that begs for such reprieves,
but need. It is myself whose winter days
will be made brighter by their purple gaze
floating above a tangle of light leaves.

I am of half a mind to be their friend
and put my spade away and let them go
to unresisted slumber in the snow--
a life complete down to its perfect end.

How must it feel, I wonder, to have spent
one's days so sanely that not one was lost
in balancing the profit with the cost
or grieving how or why or where they went.

    ("Poet Lore")


From The Shadow I Dress In, by Rhina P. Espaillat; David Robert Books, 2004; (A division of WordTech Communications) 

The magazines in which these first appeared are listed in parentheses below each poem.


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