Crocuses, a poem
I. Signs of Spring
Suddenly, there they were by the front door,
and at my son’s preschool — purple and yellow
and green, poking through the snow
like small erections, out of the body of the earth,
the earth’s slumbering winter body.
My husband was always at work then,
they, the flowers, were my best companions.
“God is!” they said. “We’re God’s greatest effort,” they said,
“We’re God’s peeping blooms, despair must go to sleep,
and all creatures must go out of their lairs to frolic.”
My husband did not feel the urge.
II. The Mole
Such loneliness I had battled all winter!
I made chicken, hot crescent rolls,
and buttered beans to make us happy,
but my husband was never hungry.
Lots of things took his appetite clean away.
I hadn’t scrubbed the toilet in two weeks,
this distressed him, he was a stern master.
The crocuses were so calm and forgiving,
purple and yellow like bruises;
my husband inflicted bruises without knowing.
He could not see, or did not want to.
His face lit up upon our child, that was all.
He was too important to sweep, or dust, or scrub.
I was the babysitter. I was happy with the crocuses,
and then one day, a dead mole; my son didn’t know
what dead meant, so I had to explain it.
He petted the soft fur, wanted to snuggle it
to his cheek. We paid homage to the mole.
We buried it under the snow, amid the crocuses.
III. Troubling Questions
My husband didn’t know the bruises he left behind;
the flowers were my trusted companions.
His face lit up, gazing upon his son,
his finest possession; my husband would jerk him
away from me, hate in his eyes, when the crying boy
awoke in the night. The crocuses poked their heads out,
asking questions I couldn’t answer. My husband
didn’t want to see the bruises, or he was colorblind.
He was too important to notice the marks.
The crocuses asked, “Where is pleasure?”
“Not here,” I said. “Maybe next door?”
IV. The Body’s Lament
The earth’s body was waking up,
but mine wasn’t, my husband was too important
to worry about my body. The head of his penis
was purple like the crocuses, but it asked no questions.
His body was warm, but not for me:
for the pure idea of sex, the attractive notion.
He wanted a thinner, more charming woman
with a better degree, one who would clean the house
more often, and with a smile.
Oh, he wanted a warm, dark place to set
himself, but one with no conversation.
As I put away the winter wools, the smell of mothballs,
white, crystalline like snow, inflamed my fears.
When the rest of spring arrived,
the warm air did not ease the tightness,
the block of ice around my heart.