Cannas

Cannas

by David Milley

When frost comes in, Warren cuts the cannas down:
flowers faded, leaves wilted and brown, edges dry,
all goodness gone to root. Tall stalks tossed to ground,
fat bristles stand where fire flowers stretched to sky.

Handing me the heavy spade, Warren points: “Dig here.”
He knows where rhizomes hide. Pushing clodden lumps,
I ride the spade down into dirt at the edge. Every year,
I dig from farther out; each fall means bigger clumps.

When spring sails in, Warren drags the big boxes out
from under the kitchen, and replants bulbs in their bed,
reburies bones that winter revealed. Green shoots sprout,
leaves unfurl, rise. Flowers bud, ignite in orange and red.

Hummingbirds hang above us, where scarlet blooms stand tall.
To coax them back in summer, we cut cannas in the fall.


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