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Garden Show

I didn't know what you were
a non-descript pot of green
peppered with tiny burst of lilac.
Nothing special except for the surprising ability of tiny petals to swallow my heart whole.
That would have been enough for me.
An impulse purchase to recapture my pulse
which I had to have at any price.
The humble botanist recognized me
as a kindred spirit who spoke the language of things that come from the soil.
Without a word, he plucked a leaf, rolling it between earth-stained fingers,
and held it up to my nose.
He watched me, his mouth contorting with the beginning of a knowing smile, expectant
as I politely inhaled, expecting something green and herby.
Instead, the essence of a thousand old-fashioned roses exploded deep in my lungs.
I gasped, and the botanist laughed.
He called you by your Arabic name, "etre."
"Etre," I repeated, recalling the Francophonic verb, "to be."
And you most certainly were. something.
I loaded you into my wheelbarrow, alongside rare desert moutain thyme, false mint, rosemary, oregano, purple basil, french lavender, honeysuckle, jasmine, and strawberries.
I was after a scented garden for my rooftop paradise in the concrete Cairo jungle.
You grew erratically. Stalks and leaves plumping up like a straggly succulent, tumbling over the sides of the planter.
You refused to be outdone by your neighbors, the thirsty basil and insistent creeping thyme.
You mocked the edible herbs and obvious sweet smelling shrubs
each morning as I dragged the hose from planter to planter before the heat of the day struck.
All I had to do was brush up against you and you released your heady teenage girl scent.
Sweet, sticky rose rose rose.
You turned my delicate scented garden into a cheap brothel.
My very own garden whore
quickening my pulse
giving me my heart back
beat by beat.
May 2008

About this poem

Reflection on shopping for plants as an immigrant (we called ourselves expats in the day) at a garden expo in Cairo, Egypt. Rose Geranium, aka "citronella', is the plant.

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Written on 2008

Submitted by dianab.11037 on February 07, 2023

1:39 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic heptameter
Characters 1,813
Words 332
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 32

Diana Boeke

Lifestyle artist, writer, poet, student of nature, social justice witness and activist. more…

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    "Garden Show" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 28 Mar. 2023. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/150187/garden-show>.

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