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On my white window ledge

The daffodils dry as the drowning fly quietens in Ella Barnes's beautiful poem

On my white window ledge

the shadows and the paint are cracked

by early Spring-soft sunlight which,

between my pots and jars and plants,

is fresh with birdsong 

and the sweet green scent of a morning lawn’s

cool perspiration.

My daffodils are drying.

All this week they warmed themselves

and beamed and bloomed upon my ledge.

Now I see them yield to the light,

papery and, with old age, translucent.

But still the stalks are green and wet!

Corpulent in the jar’s round light,

They guzzle.

I think of them dropped limp in a bin

Trickling against impenetrable black plastic.

No. Not yet.

Wrinkled and wafery as their faces have grown

they still bask and beam,

Never not beautiful,

Somewhat alive.

All this time a fly squirms in the water, twitching against the glass,

tiny legs and wings scrabbling for flight,


by an unfamiliar gravity.

And all this time, those tiny legs and wings have been twitching in my chest,

But I chose the death of daffodils

and the scent of sunlight.

And even now my thought is only 

how best to capture 

those minuscule death throes?

What would be the most poetic way 

for that thimbleful of life

to splutter to a halt

in my vase

and on my page?

Illustration by Liv Fugger.

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