Shannon Donaghy: God of Flowers

Photo by Manyu Varma on Unsplash
After Mary Oliver’s poem The Kookaburras (House of Light)

We only forget the well-meaning thought
if it has been acted on.
Even if we resolve never again to only think
when the empty plastic bottle is chucked
from the passenger window;
when the slur is passed not so quietly
between privileged teeth;
when the boy (of any age) is not
only allowed, but encouraged to
go on “being a boy” at the expense
of everyone else;
Even if we resolve to stop these
and other, much larger atrocities
from now on, with what power we possess
regret of the unspoken lingers on the pallet.
The wounds of the past still demand to be healed.

In every heart there is a coward and a procrastinator,
a field of flowers, each petal in
various stages of growth and disarray.
We don’t become the god of these flowers
when we realize it is our destiny.
Destiny might be a promise,
a prediction of potential,
but it is only made and kept by the destined.
No one is owed a destiny.

When I am met by indecision
I still listen for my heartbeat
and, like the flowers, I follow the sun.
I am not yet a god of even the palest flowers.
But I understand their soil now
and that they need the rain to breathe.
I do the things I can control.
And because I kneel, with my knees in the dirt
And pray into the roots underneath,
I know, one day,
their quiet petals will open for me.

Shannon Donaghy is a lesbian poet and book publicist from South Jersey. Her poetry appears in Plum Tree Tavern, Sapphic Writers, Journal of New Jersey Poets, and more. She’s been a guest on Karamo with Karamo Brown as well as The Hidden Compass Podcast. When she’s not writing, reading, or writing about reading, she enjoys hiking, painting, and cooking with her partner, Reilly.


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