Geraniums (revised, again)

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It begins with the scent of geraniums,
bitter and hard,
and my grandmother telling me not to touch
because she is afraid I will pick them.
I wonder how this flower
so harsh on my nose
could be the crown of her patio.

It begins with the scent of geraniums,
bitter and metallic,
and the old man at the end of the street
wading through his dark, wide garden,
thick, soil-soaked air,
and a wild assortment of snapdragons
which we each pick
so we can make the dragon growl.
He bends over the fence
to hand us our annual maple saplings.

It begins with the scent of geraniums,
bitter and ancient,
and me potting up the front entryway,
the sun burning my arms, my eyes squinting.
That sharp perfume,
its mystical remembrances,
is welcome oracle
of the season yet to know.

————

My annual return to this poem (with revisions) is triggered by planting geraniums yet again in my front door planters. I try hard to break from tradition, but become nostalgic at one whiff of geraniums. I am forever stuck in the gardens of my youth.