This Is Why I Plant Perennials

Every time I plant the perennials —
daffodils, tulips, tiger lilies, hollyhocks —
I’m leaving a part of me immortal:
my immeasurable desire.

I anticipate those first green shoots,
foreshadowing my promise to myself.
Planting is more than peace-filled,
silent meditation, or renewal.

And when flowers die, falling to darkness,
they will not represent eventual revival
or the promise of return, yet their seeds
are reminders of my pledges for more.

More voices, more colors, more for
someone to remember me. People
might continually travel by commenting,
I saw him planting there —

flowers forever arriving on schedule:
daffodils, pink tulips, tiger lilies tasting
sunlight, fifteen foot hollyhocks
looking over fences for me.


Martin Willitts Jr has 20 chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, The Wire Fence Holding Back the World (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus 11 full-length collections including forthcoming full-lengths includes The Uncertain Lover (Dos Madres Press, 2018) and Home Coming Celebration (FutureCycle Press, 2018).