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Carrying the Plants

By M. Christine Benner Dixon

They have watched winter pass from the window,

tiered on a wire shelf      —        green-leaf ceramic

and terracotta pots      —       their backs, with new-

shoot stems ,  bent lightward .    I have been faith-

ful  ,    watering them whenever the feathery one  ,

                                         purple under her leaves,

the  first  to  show  her  thirst     ,                           sags.


At   last,    their    longed   -   for   sun   is   spending

longer  days  with  us  again .             Our  neighbor,

barefoot  behind his  garlic patch,  says  that  God

is    imperfect ,          cannot    be    everywhere    at

once   .          So  it  is  with  the  sun ,         and  she is

ours   again            —           bright

blessings       and                          unbearable      heat.


It   is   time   for   me   to   carry

the   plants   downstairs.         The    jade ,    the   ivy,

in      their      pots     with     the     cobweb    scarves

and     the      white      crust      of      old     soil ,          I

will      carry      them ,       dropping      dry       leaves

in    the    hall  .            The     spider     plants ,         the

aloe ,     the   peace    lilies.                We   should   not

blame  God   ,    the  neighbor  says,           

                                                calling to us over the road.

It’s    too    much    to    expect    perfection

of   anyone.


                        I position the pots    on the ledge of the

                       westmost wall,     where they will roil up

                      leaves into the summer, spread into the

                       open season,                          like a prayer.


Only  the  calathea   did   not   survive   the   winter ,

died   of   longing   for   some-

thing,   of    hiding    her    thirst,     perhaps.    So I will

trowel    out    her    soil

and  give  it  to  someone  else  ,    some

loose rib of the geranium, perhaps,      to make her

                                                                                      a sister.

M. Christine Benner Dixon lives, writes, and grows things in Pittsburgh, PA. She is quick to make a pun and slow to cut her grass. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Reckoning, Literary Hub, Funicular, Fusion Fragment, Appalachian Review, and elsewhere. Her debut novel, The Height of Land, is the 2022 Orison Fiction Prize winner and will be released by Orison Books. Millions of Suns, a collection of craft essays co-authored with Sharon Fagan McDermott, is out now from the University of Michigan Press. Find her at

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