Bio Note: Escrow closed on my condo on 5/10/10, which happened to be the 90th birthday of my friend Mary Rennie, who with a timely loan helped me buy this, my first home. I continue to be grateful to Mary, who died in late 2018. A former real estate agent, she believed in women owning property. The money tree, which is currently putting out new leaves, was given to me by my friend Elisabeth Des Marais, another former real estate agent, when I started house-hunting. For those interested in more of my work, my most recent chapbook is It Isn't That They Mean to Kill You (Arroyo Seco Press, 2018).
After a year the delicate basil is stripped of its leaves overnight: two fat green caterpillars arched on the stems. Cherry tomato that offered only sour fruit in summer fills with red sweetness now that it’s cold. Why do I bother fretting the future?
Originally published in Red Shift 1
For Mary Rennie, 1920-2018 A century-old brain rests inside the smoked glass shade of the wrought iron lamp which once belonged to Mary. I eat my dinner at her dining table, I sit on the Queen Anne chairs she expensively upholstered which I bought for little at her daughters’ yard sale, I put my feet up on her coffeetable, set a mug on her dropleaf. Out on the balcony a fuchsia droops on gold tile above metal legs supporting racks that once held bottles in her den. Evenings at my desk I read and write by the light of her smoked shade, sip tea while she flickers in the lamp’s dark base, suggests I have a glass of something stronger.
Like a verdant clown the money tree sticks its head above the balcony rail, sways in the afternoon breeze. For ten years it’s been my patron saint of solvency. It helped me find this nest, according to the friend who gave the plant to me when it was just a baby in a four-inch pot. Now it’s as tall as I am. From this aerie I named treetop I looked into the boughs of pines until their murder by the gangs with chainsaws left a panoramic view of neighbors. I preferred green-needled mystery. Still, I see more mackerel clouds and the plants prefer the sun: citronella, basil, Cuban oregano, jade, plumeria. We sit together in the dusk, unfurl and welcome spiders.
©2021 Penelope Moffet
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