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Therapy

I stop at a farm stand selling flowers,
tiered displays in pinks, purple, white.
I’ve got petunias, she says, and double petunias
all ruffled. Marigolds, tomatoes, too.
One dollar each. Oh, it’s not to make money, she says.
This is therapy.

I wish I’d stopped moving right there.
I wish I’d asked her to explain, to tell me
her story. Instead I got lost
in the picture she made in my head—
A long line of doctors-to-be,
interns in psychiatry, and those who
study the heart, and those who specialize
in the working of our hands. They arrive
at this farmhouse door in white lab coats,
ready, faces eager and open to learn
all this gray-haired expert can teach them
about How Therapy Works.
She puts down her trowel with a patient sigh
for though she has much work to do, someone,
someone must teach them. She begins simply,
the way you would with very small children.
She leads them to the greenhouse door.
At the sight of them, standing awkwardly
in the muddy patch between potting shed
and vegetable garden, in their thin and shiny city shoes,
unprepared for this practical world, she remembers
where she meant to begin. First, you need boots,
she tells them. She opens the door to the greenhouse,
remembers to speak.
This is a seed, she says.

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