Pansies

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the first visit here was awful
like wading through dead bodies,
picking out the first wreath
for Tinsley’s grave

every decoration
seemed like it belonged
in a cemetery
not hanging on a door in Christmas cheer

but today the ground here
feels connected to the ground there
with all the seamless trips
from here to there,
my arms overflowing with flowers

this morning
i’m ready to bring spring into our backyard

“these pansies are wonderful,” the shopkeeper tells me,
“and they can withstand the April frosts”

“but a frost is not a freeze….” i say,
hesitantly breathing over their colors

he nods in agreement
“but best guess–by now you could plant them, and they’ll be just fine”

“best guess” rings in my ears
and suddenly i feel trapped,
suffocated by these tiny, flimsy petals

im so unhinged by the idea of 40 dollars worth of pansies dying
because i planted them too soon
that i’ve been given a hard answer
to something else

“i think i’ll give it another couple more weeks,” i mutter to him

and leave the store empty-handed for the first time
wondering when i’ll be ready
to go back for more.

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