George Northrop

Avoiding Despair
After we stopped believingGod would save us,we thought knowledgewould save us, or Eros.
We thought a mix of goldand treasury bondswould save us, or friends,or California, or hard work,
or single malt scotch.Finally, Buddhism saved usfrom thinking anythingwould save us.
Extended Memory
I remember everythingabout this little gardenia bush,how the buds of your eyes blossomedwhen I surprised you with it,the wilted look on your facewhen you gave it backa few months later,worried you would kill the helpless plant,trusting me to keep it alive.
That was over ten years ago.
I remember the time I asked Fayeto water it while I was in Rome—she did what you might have,inclined to be too nurturing,and half was drowned.Now the remaining halfgrows to one side like a trained bonsai,wintering in the greenhouse,summering on the front steps,flowering like that first time in your arms.
I considered repotting my gardenia,tilted upright to look less like an amputee.But I have come to prefer this injured way,holding all that was perishable between us.

George H. Northrup is President of the Fresh Meadows Poets in Queens, NY and board member of the Society that selects the Nassau County Poetry Laureate. He is also a past President of the New York State Psychological Association.