The white gladiolas were planted late, in haste,
and bloom now haphazard from their weight
and too much wind and wet. All summer,
this weekly deluge—sometimes days’ worth
of droplet to drizzle to downpour to gutters
running, storm drains rushing. The season
nearly gone. I’ve picked the horizontal
and cockeyed. Propped them in an unused jar
against the upper cabinets, where heady creams
wait furled like old linen topping an attic chest
while bottom blooms show blood in their cheeks,
an elderly flush of exertion to stand steadfast.
My eldest coils against her age, her growing body
tucked to mine. She insists I will always be
beside her, aware already how the pace of her life
runs toward opening, the brilliance spread
in summering. And mine toward thinning,
my skin a slighter cover in perpetual blush.
Lisa Higgs’ third chapbook, Earthen Bound, was published by Red Bird Chapbooks in February 2019. Her poetry has been published widely, and her book reviews and interviews can be found at the Poetry Foundation, Kenyon Review Online, and Adroit Journal. She also teaches from time to time at the Loft Literary Center and is a mentor for the Minnesota Prison Writer's Workshop.