“Christmas Cactus” by Ann Goldsmith

Christmas Cactus.Sanctuary
“Sanctuary” by Suzanne Stryk 2007.
(See also “Christmas Lights” by Wanda Deglane.)

A year ago, the Christmas cactus
sashayed in with its pink and
white party hat crowning the long
stems like ecstatic shrimp.

When the blossoms fell off,
each with its soft pink pod,
how bereft the stems looked,
jammed so closely they must be
strangling one another at the roots.

Removed to the patio in May
for repotting, my cactus rested
through October untouched
except by wind and sun,
mostly green, but barren,

surely dead—like some fake plant
pre-tinted with indelible dye.
When autumn days drew down,
it returned to the living room,
light as paper but still mostly green—

except for pink fins
pressing out in November,
month of my birthday,
from every suddenly laden stem.

Two days in the house—and
air schools of shrimp
took to the warm currents,
crowning the whole head
for an entire week!

Now it is December,
winter before us,
but spring still so new
I can rinse my hands in it.



Ann Goldsmith‘s second book of poems, THE SPACES BETWEEN US, appeared in April 2010. She won the Quarterly Review of Literature’s Poetry Prize for her first book, NO ONE IS THE SAME AGAIN. Goldsmith holds a doctorate from the University of Buffalo, where she taught English for ten years. She has also served on the faculties of D’Youville and St. Trocaire Colleges, and worked as Western New York Coordinator for ALPS, a statewide poetry-in-the-schools organization. She has served as poet-in-residence at the Chautauqua Institution, and taught writing at Buffalo’s Trinity Center, which granted her an Excellence in Teaching Award. Her recently completed book of poems, WAITING AT THE TURN, is looking for a publisher.

Read an interview with Ann here.

4 thoughts on ““Christmas Cactus” by Ann Goldsmith

  1. Pingback: April 2013 | Rkvry Quarterly Literary Journal

  2. I am a longtime fan of Ann Goldsmith’s poetry. Thank you for sharing the crazy Christmas Cactus arriving for the holiday in its flouncing air schools of shrimp.

  3. Pingback: Interview with Ann Goldsmith | Rkvry Quarterly Literary Journal

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