Mary Jo Salter



Cut flowers are lovely but

it's February and they're not


I've brought you a narcissus kit

you have to build yourself.

You put the dirt

in the little pot,

you stick their bottoms in,

feet sticking up.

Give them a little water. 

And then you watch them thinking

only of themselves,

not doing anything.

For days and days

there seems to be some mistake.


Until one morning at breakfast

one of them breaks,

and then everybody wants to do it,

the breaking out.

Day after day, 

a month of breaking out and free.

Taller and taller,

each one a different height,

until they can't bear

being so far

from the sight of themselves,

and they lean into the polished

surface of the kitchen table.


Look into it.

There they are,

looking at themselves,

and at you, looking at them,

and I am in our doorway,

holding your coffee, 

looking at you looking at them. 

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