Kate Northrop
The Geranium

How can you stand it—looking at things?

      For example, the geranium


out on the patio, the single pink

blossom in the sun? Or stand the sunlight

moving through it,


illuminating, holding the flower open like a high

clear note, an ecstatic



which arrives, arrives. What

do you do with it? While the shrubs and the lowest

overhanging leaves


lift slightly in the wind, and the blossom


doesn’t move.  It’s the object

of affection, and this is how

it hurts you:


by holding the note open—


Past the front of the apartment, traffic goes by:

one truck, then another


comes on, disappears.  And I have


the blossom in my vision—

       sunlight, like vision,

making clear the tiniest


hidden veins.  I don’t know why

I should be here, alive


and having to see this, this bright thing

living in time


or have to see it later, at the end

of the afternoon, when the sun’s


lower, its light diagonal across the pot,

      the light then pulling away

across the mossed brick


like a wave, only slower,

slower.  The blossom is still pink,

but no longer


brilliant. I’ll go back

into the kitchen.  But you, are you stronger than I? Can you

      stay in love with it? Make promises,


marry it?  Are you so sure

of your position in the world?

Found In Volume 32, No. 01
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Kate Northrop
About the Author

Kate Northrop is an assistant professor of English/Creative Writing at West Chester University and has received a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.  Her first full length collection, Back Through Interruption, was awarded that Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and was published in September 2002 by Kent State University Press.