A Literary Magazine in Support of the Jewish Community

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"Raising Primroses" by Laurie Kuntz

Raising Primroses

       a found poem in parts

Coercing winter's end,

a rush of bloom bleeds

to bleached prisms of red and violet,


and April startles to a false debut

as petals drop—like the eyelids

of a tired woman.


       A gift plant, greenhouse grown, some primroses

       will re-bloom with proper care.


In a picture taken during a Dorcester winter,

soon after she arrived from Treblinka,

my grandmother leans against a steel fence, a backdrop

of stripped trees and litter cast across hard soil.


Her lips, wrapped buds, never unfold

beyond this moment, beyond this photo,

or the spell of a transplanted life.


       Shield primroses from direct mid-day sun,

       fertilize regularly to build up strength,

       pinch back often to keep them compact.


Tangled in the pinch of history

her mother and sister lost

in memory's nomadic terrain,

her maimed past tainted new ground.


       Pruning will stimulate root growth

       and help primroses penetrate the new mix


Accented voices embroidered her dreams

she remembered the soldiers' threats

how they fingered her mother out of the crowd,

laughed at her broken German as she begged for life.


After blooming ceases pinch

   or cut the faded flowers, put plants

       in a bright spot in the home.


       Not all gift plants are intended as permanent,

       some are to be discarded after flowering has ceased.


This picture, given to my grandmother

the first year of her rerouted life,

stands on an oak dresser.


Outside the window, spring fades,

pink primrose petals,

windswept into shadow.

Laurie Kuntz

Laurie Kuntz's work has been widely published and nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net prize. She is the author of five books, including most recently, Talking Me Off the Roof (Kelsay Books, 2022). Currently residing in Florida, every day offers an opportunity for a much needed political poem. Otherwise, happily retired, she lives in an endless summer state of mind. You can learn more about her at https://lauriekuntz.myportfolio.com/home-1.



Laurie Kuntz