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
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
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 bennerdixon.com.