Bought A New Plant

Nice day today, with the sun and all,
So I bought a new plant.
A Citronella plant.
Beautiful word, Citronella.
It smells like lemons (wasn’t expecting that).
We want clothes and dishes and bathrooms
To smell like lemons,
And I think we all know why that is.
I’ve heard it keeps mosquitos away, too,
So I’m thinking “bonus.”
And such a surprising thick trunk,
Like a miniature tree, strong and straight.
Lovely scalloped lemony leaves,
All green and starched at attention,
Such a healthy Citronella!
I bought a new pot for it, too –
None of your plastic throwaways
On a day like today.
No, this is pastel orange porcelain,
With fancy swirls.
And I laid it in that pot as tenderly as a babe,
Gave it fresh stinky soil to feed on,
Tucked it in with pine bark mulch.
And even in a poem about my new Citronella plant
It seems I can’t help but mention
That everyone’s yelling about the government,
Losing friends over the government,
Can’t think straight for the government,
But this Citronella plant?
The government doesn’t even know it’s here!
So I’m thinking “bonus times two.”
I’m excited to have it out there on the patio,
Something new for these new days we’re having.
Maybe it will bloom like in the pictures.
As for what the squirrels are thinking,
Who knows?
But I’m going to go out and smell it one last time
Before I lock the patio door and get ready
To wake up to see you again, Citronella,
Please don’t leave us soon this year,
Stay strong, stay green, stay lemon-fresh forever.


Listening to Ravi Coltrane
Playing his father’s “Alabama,”
Looking at dead leaves, dead grass, dead light,
Dead world in February.
Always we bury something, lose something,
Throw something away.
Sometimes we stop to remember,
Like Coltrane did.
Saxophone ashes flicker and burn,
Drums hammer coffins shut,
Cymbals scatter shrapnel.
I had to look up what “Alabama” was about.
I was five years old,
Unaware of losing things forever.
But I have lost many a thing since,
And just for this morning,
They all sound like “Alabama.”