Destiny of the Modern-Day Gladiola
I kneel in my garden.
Once boasting upright,
now a carpet of
leaning green stalks
that crush perennial curls
of citrine, vermillion, peach.
Thru generations of crossbreeding
and cultivation, hybrid flowers,
now more robust and abundant,
quickly bend to the earth.
Beautiful ruffled blossoms
too cumbersome for
long, slender stems.
I am told God never gives us
more than we can handle,
and want to believe
that no matter the circumstances,
I will bloom once more.
But as each flower opens,
the mass of a broken heart
pulls me down.
My body in the dirt.
My shriveled petals
pinned to the ground.
My grandmother taught me,
insert knife in middle and twist
then set in cold water
to allow the bloom.
Red and white peppermints
individually wrapped in a
a cut-crystal bowl at the funeral home.
How to prune a rose bush,
float anything in Jell-O,
remove laundry stains with Aqua Net.
I knew I could survive a collapsed lung
because she had survived a
1930’s tuberculosis sanatorium.
She taught me that both her sons
should have been at the funeral.
The priest should have pronounced
her name correctly.
My cousin should not have worn jeans.
If I ever found myself in an alley
find a bottle and break it.
Carry it shard-end out.
Her spirit rose in me.
I walked back into the funeral home,
picked up the cut-crystal bowl, dumped
every peppermint into my oversized purse.
Maria Masington is a poet, essayist, and short story writer from Wilmington, Delaware. Her poetry has been published in The News Journal, The Red River Review, Damozel Literary Journal, The Survivor’s Review, Wanderings (co-editor), Currents, The Fox Chase Review, Van Gogh’s Ear, and by the University of Colorado. Her short story "Impresario" appeared in the anthology Someone Wicked and her short story “The Triple Mary” is in the anthology Beach Nights. She co-edits The Cicadas’ Cry, a haiku publication.
She is a member of the Written Remains Writers Guild and is active in the Delaware and Philadelphia art scene. She has been a guest on WVUD ArtSounds, and invited as featured reader at the Fox Chase Review Reading series in Philadelphia and 2nd Saturday Poets in Wilmington. Maria also freelances as an emcee at various artist venues, including the Newark Arts Alliance’s monthly Open Mic. In 2011 and 2013, she was selected for the Cape Henlopen Poets & Prose Writers Retreat.
Masington is active in three ongoing writing critique groups and has presented workshops on poetry within the Delaware library system.