unlike marigold, unlike zinnia, annuals
that flame bright and burn quick and die for good—
put no effort into getting noticed
that first season. Small and indistinct
to my inexpert eye,
they dress down like the old Greek gods among the common folk.
You can’t tell them from weeds.
They are slow, patient plants.
I forget where I have planted them.
I don’t buy them in flats like tomatoes, but every February sprinkle their tiny seeds
upon the surface of expensive dirt and lay them under the maternal glow
of electric sunlight.
Meanwhile in the garden, last year’s survivors,
emerge, unglorious, vulnerable
to the lust of my springtime enthusiasm.
Oh, yes. Come April,
when their coddled cousins in the house are two small leaves
that could be any plant at all, and the first grasses
are just pushing up among the crystals of dew,
these promising, mad perennials press up indistinctly like shy
homeless children, hoping I, in my zeal to make the world a better place,
will not see them.