by Julian X  /  poetry  /  16 Dec 2007
14 years ago, I left it,
there on the wide wooden shelf
painted red, where the stairs
up to her door
bend in two.
Her mother tended her rows
of potted geraniums
and added the shelf
after her husband died.
My own Thai chilies rested there,
ensconced invader amid her mother’s geraniums,
symbol of commitment in a Japanese pot
with wooden handles,
another practice family in a string of dead
trial runs. The wind battered it and
the rain tried to drown it, but
its chilies kept turning green to red
and exploding. My knees
buckle in the cold post-storm air
as I climb to that perch, then turn around
when I see not even dirt remains as trace,
my throat tight and body fleeing.
Whose house this is now, I do not know,
nor they (my knees imagine)
the red wood shelf and little chilies,
grown to trees in last night’s dream,
abandoned somewhere along the way.
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