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TENDER ADVICE FROM TULIPS – POETRY BY GEORGINA MARIE

When he found out I fell in love with peach tulips,
he sent them to me.
Wrapped in burlap with other farm flowers
because I asked for them.
Don’t ask for love.
Ever.
You shouldn’t have to.
He didn’t know this.
I didn’t know this,
yet.

Because of this they made me sick for years,
never seeing them the same way.
No, never seeing their simple charm,
delicate like choices,
sincere like change.
Maybe that’s why.
Maybe they were never peach or pink but alarmingly clear.
In a way they telepathically tell you
about the things you need to change
or steer clear of.
The things you need to love
more than people.

There is no him now.
So if I happen to walk by tulips
they smile.
I pick them for myself and keep them in milk jars.
I don’t ask anyone for them.
I just need to know they’re there
when I need a little reassurance.

I need to do these acts
to elicit tiny responses of romance
when the dark days find me alone
in a house with only dogs and silver spoons.
Spoons to scoop cups full of reminders
of how love
can be cold mornings
with only one human body in bed
and a hundred pounds of dog body
taking up the rest of the covers.

It becomes apparent
when my feet touch the cold floor
for the first time each morning,
before tending my own wounds
with lavender and oats
and the occasional kiss from my old cat,
that this kind of love
is what makes me significant.

Georgina Marie Guardado

Georgina Marie Guardado is the Poet Laureate of Lake County, CA for 2020-2024, the first Mexican-American and youngest to serve in this role, and a Poets Laureate Fellow with The Academy of American Poets. She is a contributing writer for Antioch University’s Common Thread News, President of the Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference, and Literacy Program Coordinator for the Lake County Library. As of 2021, she serves as President of WordSwell, a literary journal and nonprofit organization founded by Bay Area Beat poet Clive Matson. As part of the Broken Nose Collective, an annual chapbook exchange, she created her first poetry chapbook, Finding the Roots of Water, in 2018 and her second chapbook, Tree Speak, in 2019. She has received support from the Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference, Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, Hugo House, and SF Writing Salon. Her work has appeared in The Bloom, Noyo Review, Poets.org, Humble Pie Magazine, Gulf Coast Journal, Yellow Medicine Review, The Muleskinner Journal, Colossus: Freedom, and Two Hawks Quarterly. She lives with her rescue dogs Kenya and Micco and her formerly feral cat Mistie, and is currently working on her full-length poetry manuscript, The Length of Trauma Covets.

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