She associates her daughter's name with flowers. That's nice. My daughter's named after a bottle of red and a bottle of white. That'll probably end in therapy for her, not a poem.
Then the poem was published in the Buffalo News yesterday. Does your newspaper still publish locally-written poetry? When I saw it there, I figure it was an omen that it should be a post - otherwise I'll keep running across it. So here it is.
Chrysanthemum, I say, letting the name Melt on the tongue like toffee.
Delphinium, hibiscus, hollyhock, these words and marigold bundle in my head.
Their sounds mean more to me than scent or hue.
I do not need to pluck them from the earth, cutting and pruning, placing them in vases, to savor their elaborate syllables.
Once long ago a small boy said: There are flowers in my yard named for your daughter Cynthia.
There are? I asked, incredulous. Which ones are those?
For Cynthia, he said, pointing out forsythia, its golden boughs gilding the picket fence.
Whenever since I see forsythia, I murmur Cynthia.
Oh, there she is. Nor do I skip the fragrant hyacinth, which sounds a lot to me like Hiya Cynth.
My lucky girl, to be defined by flowers.
As I sink down in dark these winter days, I gather flowers by their vibrant names
To keep me company within my house: laurel, larkspur, trillium, I say out loud.
Geranium, begonia, columbine.
Look, they fill and overflow the crystal bowls my mother left to me.
Abundantly, they bow and bend, invisible.
- ANSIE BAIRD
Baird is the poet-in-residence at Buffalo Seminary and a co-editor of Earth’s Daughters magazine. Her full-length collection of poems “In Advance of All Parting” won the 2009 White Pine Poetry Prize.