Pink hollyhocks

The stalks shoot up first, though
you have done nothing to deserve
them—months ago you pruned
the spent stalks to the ground, yet
here they are, restarting from last

year’s leftovers, fuzzy green lengths
extending slender arms ending in
palm-sized leaves. And all along
the new stalks, tiny buds cluster like
friendly tumors, ones that will grow

and eventually burst into frilly
magenta rosettes, taking over the bed
by the garage, growing taller than
you, sending you searching for
sturdy sticks to prop them up.

They don’t last long in vases;
they’re meant to live right where,
like gangly teenage boys, they
send up all that height, that
heady profusion of pink,

glorious for a few weeks, then
the green fading to sickly yellow,
blooms dropping, reseeding nearly
instantly as others sprout
alongside their fallen brethren—

beaming at you every time you
venture outside, delighted by
the stately towers, the grand
columns of color just beginning
this prolific season that always

seems as if it will never end.

You can listen to Jan read this poem here.

About janishaag

Writer, writing coach, editor
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