I came upon these white peonies at the market yesterday, their heads nearly as big as my own and their fragrance so potent. They found their way into my basket and into my living room (and into my viewfinder)…The poem below is a favorite from a dear friend, one that I’ve had pinned on the bulletin board in my kitchen for quite a long time.
Heart transplants my friend handed me:
four of her own peony bushes
in their fall disguise, the arteries
of truncated, dead wood protruding
from clumps of soil fine-veined with worms.
“Better get them in before the frost.”
And so I did, forgetting them
until their June explosion when
it seemed at once they’d fallen in love,
had grown two dozen pink hearts each.
each one girl on her first date,
excess perfume, her dress too ruffled,
the words he spoke to her too sweet–
but he was young; he meant it all.
And when they could not bear the pretty
weight of so much heart, I snipped
their dew-sopped blooms; stuffed them in vases
in every room like tissue boxes
already teary with self-pity.
~Mary Jo Salter