Beverly Matherne

Internationally Acclaimed Poet

Pink Geraniums

by Beverly Matherne

I remember the first time 
I saw them, in December,
pink geraniums in her office window,
hot pink, the only color against
limestone, snow, and gray clouds.

The flowers grew all winter,
shameless of their opulent blooms,
their large, circular leaves,
the way they filled the window,
as if to say “Take me, take me,
I’m yours.”

In those long stretches at 10 below,
I would take the short cut from the library,
time my treks with her office hours,
stop at her open door,
throw a “Hello, how goes?”
and bow like an old coot
from the Old West.

In my Ford pickup, I took her to Scheu’s Café,
to chamber concerts, auctions in
Council Grove, Emporia, where 
Flint Hills swell and dip, where
farmers and their wives unload
Bavarian crystal, Lunt silver, antique
Steinways and head south.

In spring, when purple crocuses
pushed up from the snow, I took her
to my wheat farm, threw
a table cloth on the barn floor.
Her shivering under me, straw
mingled in her black hair, I kissed her
full on the lips, smelled her woman,
smelled tractor grease, the earth, and gave
her my mother’s double row of diamonds.

Today, her long dead, and me 90
among white sheets in my hospital bed,
I seek pink geraniums, hot pink, the only
color against limestone, snow, and clouds.

This poem won the Hackney Literary Award for Poetry.

Published in Uncommonplace: An Anthology of Contemporary Louisiana Poets, Louisiana State University Press, 1998.