Poems by Charlene Langfur

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What Saves

by Charlene Langfur

From Canary Summer 2015

Charlene lives in the northwestern extension of the Sonoran Desert, 224 feet above sea level, in one of the hottest places on earth, with only 5 inches of annual rain and temperatures as high as 120 degrees. She is just south of the Whitewater Preserve, 93 miles west of the Pacific Ocean.

This year the plant on the porch bloomed
as if nothing could stop it,
Mums, a running bloom of them
nothing complicated about this,
no precision growth involved,
only the flowers, light purple,
maybe lilac in color, all of them
more ambitious than usual, soft yet dark,
I can feel the ease of regularity
from inside the house because of them
because they are there,
steady, unexpected,
a single touchstone of a life
gone suddenly backwards, yes,
it was all of a sudden things turned difficult for me
and I had no reason at first
to believe the flowers were any kind of staying point,
the reprieve they had become, the line in the stand stopping
me from being pushed backwards any further.
A clump of chrysanthemums,
a plastic pot of them from Trader Joes, a holiday deal.
A one way special to christen a new
apartment, flowers gone to seed and back,
gone to transplant and more.
The small light in a big dark.
Soon it will go at it again, the plant,
flowering when I least expect it,
when it should not have any more
in it to do, it will be what saves when all else fails.
A crescendo of purple flowers,
what saves comes back.
Enthralls. What makes the too deep light again.

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