The 2River View 22.4 (Summer 2018)

William Walsh

Raising Flowers in December

My daughter is running her fingers up and down the piano
this afternoon, practicing her scales as snow falls

on the geraniums in a terracotta pot
on the back porch, now, about an inch thick. 

I bought these geraniums at Home Depot a few weeks ago
during spring break, planted them in black dirt, carefully

watered and weeded them, checking each day for buds.
Lately, the weather’s turned warm

and I’ve been walking around in plaid shorts
and a Duke t-shirt—just yesterday, I sat on the porch

enjoying what’s left of The Masters—beer in one hand,
Sharon Olds and Marie Howe in the other.  But now,

a nor’easter has swooped down without warning:
school’s out, roads shut down,

hot chocolate simmering on the stove.
As I carry the flower pot into the house

to where Olivia’s fingers are cascading down the keyboard,
I want the flowers to hear her arpeggios

gliding into the opening of “Come Sail Away” by Styx,
to experience the beauty of her music.

Her brothers, sitting at the kitchen table, are arguing
over a game of Risk. I want the flowers to know

I am saving them from the uncertainty of the future.
These geraniums can live in my house, forever.

Wine Tasting at Wilber and Rudy's Farm Table

After six days of rain, I have the night to savor, hours
to smell the uncorked Bordeaux flowing like the Dordogne,

where couples walk hand in hand
over stone bridges, admiring the steep cliffs.

From across the room, I search beyond the guests
squeezing between one another, slowly, from one sommelier

to the next, until I find the understated white pearls
and red dress as lovely as a nude descending a staircase.

As if hovering in a dream above the gallery, the oaky aroma
undresses the future and swirls under my tongue, the desire

to dance with her, the dry taste evaporating
behind our lips. The vintners bless our faith

in the grape, cajole the lingering after-taste—one jokes
about the Gironde estuary in France, where your tongue

will find romance. I could step out of myself, pretend
to be a billionaire and imagine you in diamonds

and nothing else. Sometimes we know what we shouldn’t know,
how in the wine rests the essence of refusal. 

This is all I have: the flesh
of my words pressing against your lips.

William Walsh is the director of the Etowah Valley Low-Residency MFA Program at Reinhardt University. His new collection of poems, Fly Fishing in Times Square, recently won the Cervena Barva Press Editors Series Prize. It will be published in late 2018 or early 2019. website

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