Du Fu was writing the impossibility of spring flowers, and I bore hours spent waiting for others to finish their lessons—a schedule of tasks I did not set for myself. The coldest stretch of winter, an absurdity, and me the necessary vehicle, all tires and full seats. Once, I had a yard and garden. Flowers sprung out in rush of bees. Once, my wish to see butterfly colors, to name something unnoticeable to others—one petal’s ultraviolet blush. Now, my car idles in sharp Artic air. Their faces flush to spot me waiting. I’m nearly always on time for the ache of opening doors. My closing book. I love them so much. Blooms. Orioles. Their perfect songs. Du Fu has aged ageless, despite all that wine. Winter cants about on a bender. Soon enough, the bottle’s dregs. Its last drops will pour out in absolution among the forget-me-nots’ first tips. I’ll scatter rinse water over each blessed bit of green. Backward and forward, my mind picks straw from wide-faced peonies white as innumerable thick flakes forecast overnight. Petals, flakes, both dropping rich in their time. Du Fu was right. Just don’t make it a race.
Lisa Higgs is a recipient of a 2022 Minnesota State Arts Board grant. She has published three chapbooks, most recently Earthen Bound (Red Bird). Her reviews and interviews can be found online at the Poetry Foundation, Kenyon Review, the Adroit Journal, and the Colorado Review.