Monday, November 24, 2008

Singular Growth

Last summer I watched a petunia grow. As a rule I don’t even like petunias. Oh, sure, other people’s petunias are fine. But mine get leggy and when I pinch them back they leave an unpleasant odor of musty death on my fingers. But this wasn’t my petunia. I never even watered it. Neither was it anyone else’s. It appeared between two bricks on the sidewalk in front of my neighbor Betsy’s house nearly shocking her like that postcard from Versailles from a friend with cancer who never made it back from France. The petunia’s life was simple. It grew a bud that blossomed. Eventually it drooped like all petunias do. Except that it was alone, between those bricks. I know you’re waiting for the poetic predictable, for me to anthropomorphize the petunia, lend it characteristics like courage and determination, maybe even loneliness, or pride. But I won’t. Nope. It was a Ding an sich. It was a petunia, pure and simple. Like a red wheel barrow or a white chicken, it was not a rose. I will tell you though that it got more attention from passersby than any petunia in even the most thickly planted window box on the street. Other neighbors celebrated it like it was a hero – but only while it blossomed. When it wilted, their interest waned. No one mourned its passing, as far as I know, not even Betsy. Just me. Now it’s winter. Every gray morning, as I avoid patches of ice on the bricks, I remember the brilliant vermillion of that petunia. And I think that the thing is, if it is possible the petunia had all sorts of human feelings, the whole range, from bliss to despair, I’m convinced it was pleased to have bloomed. And that was enough. Lisa E. Paige Copyrighted material 2008

3 comments:

Sandy said...

Good poem. I'm sure the petunia found bliss in blooming. I wonder if it reseeded itself.

Material Girl said...

I like it, Momma!
Although I have to admit that I never noticed the petunia...
-Sophie

Material Girl said...

I have no idea why I'm signed in as "Material Girl"... I don't even have a Blogger account... Oops