There are fat buds on the green-striped orchid here
in my bedroom, two on the white one in the foyer,
a spray of buds tightly clenched on the oldest one
in the study. All of them need feeding. I need feeding.
What feeds me is a moment’s glimpse of a different mind,
a consciousness of which I am aware briefly, tentatively.
In this city, where I have come to live and die, an old
woman, I find the surprise of roses thriving: a bush with
crimson blossoms in a filthy yard, another with brave
pink blooms in a wire-fenced square, prolific white roses
climbing the wall of the derelict house next door, with its
garden of lilac, rhododendron, laurel among abandoned
cars, weeds, fallen branches. What’s familiar here is
the chaos, things being out of hand: orchids, moments,
houses. Whether I may, aging, bloom this heedlessly.
Sandra Kohler’s third collection of poems, Improbable Music (Word Press), appeared in May 2011. Earlier collections are The Country of Women (Calyx, 1995) and The Ceremonies of Longing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003). Her poems have appeared recently in Beloit Poetry Journal, Notre Dame Review, Damfino, and Mantis.