How can you stand it—looking at things?
For example, the geranium

out on the patio, the single pink
blossom in the sun? Or stand the sunlight
moving through it,

illuminating, holding the flower open like a high
clear note, an ecstatic
widening

which arrives, arrives. What
do you dowith it? While the shrubs and the lowest
overhanging leaves

lift slightly in the wind, the blossom

doesn’t move. It’s the object
of affection, and this is how
it hurts you:

by holding the note open—

Past the front of the apartment, traffic goes by:
one truck, then another

comes on, disappears. And I have

the blossom in my vision—
sunlight, like vision,
making clear the tiniest

hidden veins. I don’t know why
I should be here, alive

and having to see this, this bright thing
living in time

or have to see it later, at the end
of the afternoon, when the sun’s

lower, its light diagonal across the pot,
its light then pulling away
across the mossed brick

like a wave, only slower,
slower. The blossom is still pink,
but no longer

brilliant. I’ll go back
into the kitchen. But you, are you stronger than I? Can you
stay in love with it? Make promises,

marry it? Are you so sure
of your position in the world?

Analysis, meaning and summary of Kate Northrop's poem The Geranium

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