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Maria Masington, two poems

Destiny of the Modern-Day Gladiola

I kneel in my garden.

Once boasting upright,

tight-fisted buds,

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.

Radish Roses

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.

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