Narcissus, January

I think I've used this picture before. It's worth a double dip. Central Park in NYC!
Spring, oh spring, I am ready for you!

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Narcissus, January


There is ice on the roads some mornings,
just a little, enough to be careful.
I love the return to normalcy after the holidays,
take tea on the drive to work,
don't worry about shopping after,
not making things happen.

I love the day after New Year’s
when I sweep the house of red,
love having white paper narcissus forced to bloom
in a ceramic bowl in the entry.

For several years, a friend gifted them,
she’d thrift shop for interesting crockery,
she’d tie a golden ribbon around the bulbs
which begin ugly as onions.
I’d keep them near the sink
so to remember to water them.
Once little blanched nubs emerged,
paintbrushes without paint,
I’d relocate them. Front hallway harkening.

My friend used to be a practicing doctor
and hasn’t worked in years to care for her children and ailing father.
The presents were perhaps a last stand for her,
a few moments stolen in the dishware aisle at Goodwill,
the flowers, dry lockets
chosen at the nursery from a wooden bin,
ancient ritual of hope.

It has been a few years since I received narcissus,
it tells me her responsibilities have increased.
My friend called this Christmas
and I let it go to voicemail, in my own version of caregiving,
I was too busy to answer.

I miss having them now, the long straw stems
which list toward the light,
the roots, little rafts of dendrites.
The blossoms themselves,
as alien as packages wrapped in metallic paper.
Where does the green emerge from
and the little sparkles on the little petals,
what about the yellow?
These gray days, I crave it especially,
delivered in canary coronas.
And their fragrance, I haven’t mentioned the smell.
I’ve always felt sorry for people who hate it.