Gift I Never Gave You

by Rachel Malis

I wanted to save the sunflowers
for your birthday because
we bought them an expensive planter.
Because you watered them too much
every day. Because we bothered to try
in the desert. Because you were proud
when they pierced green the top layer
of dirt, snapped the crisp shell
that had pinched their first leaves.
I wanted to save the sunflowers
because your grandfather was dying,
because their stems were too thin
to hold themselves upright.
Because the gardener said
their roots had been eaten
by fungus, we should start over.
Because they were still turning
their heads toward the sunlight
as it tore over the roof each morning.

Rachel Malis will be graduating from ASU’s MFA program this spring. She was a runner up in the Slapering Hol chapbook contest via the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center and is published in Oberon Poetry, Modoc Forum, and Damselfly Press. She has work forthcoming in the New Mexico Poetry Review.

Back to Issue Seven: Spring 2010