On Moving Late in Life

at first glance
the plant seems yielding
able to sway in many seasons

your approach is gentle
a slight tilt
rocking the pot front to back

when there is no release
you insert a trowel
wedge it 360 degrees around

rock the pot again
a bit more muscle this time
still no give, the plant holding fast

you can feel the problem
long strands of root hair snaking out
the drain hole, a tight knot

hand a vise, you clamp down
on the stem and yank hard
no budge

you bang the trowel
against the pot’s bottom
pull harder yet

sweat rivers over your breasts
and you’re crying
as you hear roots ripping

then a jerk of surrender
the plant lurches
from its pot

stripped of refuge
thousands of milky white threads
intertwined and solid

exact image
of the abandoned pot
naked in the burning air

seeing the plant
bruised and brave
so faithful to its old form

you whisper words of comfort
ease it down a hole
patting earth into swaddling

turn the garden hose
to the setting
called gentle rain

now you wait to see
how the plant will take to new soil
only time will tell



Kathryn Ridall

About Kathryn Ridall

Kathryn Ridall is author of two chapbooks and editor of two anthologies, most recently WHAT THE RIVER BRINGS: OREGON RIVER POEMS. she lives in Eugene where she leads writing groups and is the publisher of Fae Press. She can be reached at her website: www.kathryn-ridall.com.
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