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By Cynthia Zarin

This morning I was walking upstairs

from the kitchen, carrying your

beautiful flowers, the flowers you


brought me last night, calla lilies

and something else, I am not

sure what to call them, white flowers,


of course you had no way of knowing

it has been years since I bought

white flowers—but now you have


and here they are again. I was carrying

your flowers and a coffee cup

and a soft yellow handbag and a book


of poems by a Chinese poet, in

which I had just read the words “come

or go but don’t just stand there


in the doorway,” as usual I was

carrying too many things, you

would have laughed if you saw me.


It seemed especially important

not to spill the coffee as I usually

do, as I turned up the stairs,


inside the whorl of the house as if

I were walking up inside the lilies.

I do not know how to hold all


the beauty and sorrow of my life.

Cynthia Zarin, "Flowers" from Orbit.  Compilation copyright © 2017 by Cynthia Zarin.  Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

Source: Orbit (Alfred A. Knopf, 2017)

  • Nature
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Poet Bio

Cynthia Zarin
Cynthia Zarin is a poet, journalist, and children’s book author. Zarin has received numerous awards for her work, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. She is married to the art dealer Joseph Goddu and currently lives in New York City. See More By This Poet

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