Charlene Langfur

We Have to Know How Much is Enough

Today I walked around the patch of desert 
full of fan palms and cactus.
I have love on my mind as I often do these days
and ponder goals almost as old as I am,
with hopes too big to carry all at once.
I start out early in May knowing how fast
the heat comes on here and living in a troubled country,
with all the restrictions, the pandemic, isolation is 
the practice now, a regular way of life for us and a way
to survive, and thrive following our stay at home plans.
The cactus blooms this time of year, its yellow
flowers with cups like angel’s wings, papery
to the touch. I wait for them and all their crazy
blooming at the start of the giant bouts of heat
that come on and off in the desert summer
and always it’s time to run for cover, when
even the tough-skinned lizard in my garden
hides under the aloe plants as long as needed.
That’s how it is now, longing for what is not there
any more and walking with what still is.
The mesquite trees covered in pods,
green with new life, one pod as a time.
And I remember the kiss on a day like this,
one that seemed like it could never end,
not for any reason, no, no reason at all.
Who wouldn’t hope for it to come back again?
As it is, I plan to propagate the lavender
later today, each small cutting slipped
into the fresh earth, all its dreamy purple
life to come by September, what will come
back all aglow in the morning light,
one purple bud after another.

Charlene Langfur is an organic gardener, a Syracuse University Graduate Writing Fellow and her most recent publications include a series of poems in Weber, and poems in The North Dakota Quarterly and the Inkwell Journal.