Reading: November by Jane Shore

Jane Shore (b. 1947) is an American poet with a unique voice, often expressing her Jewish heritage. Don’t confuse her with a love of King Edward IV 🙂 I found a funny poem entitled ‘November’:

My north-exposed begonia the first frost
got to, spunky in its porcelain pot
splays out like spokes of an umbrella-
the pure giving up. It took me months
to like that plant, thriving
leaf-clumps pressed as lips press against
glass, towering above the huge green zoo
of Peperomia like the moony monster
eating Tokyo. That one: recalcitrant
on the sill. That one: its proud
explosions intruded like a hat in an audience.
I ripped the stems out whole, popping, oozing
syrup. They floated in the pie-tin above
the toilet like lilies on a tiny silver lake.
Thinking now of the guy who kidded me
for days, picked up and left me cold.

What a wonderful description of a dying begonia! It took me months to like it, and now this? But why did you expose him to the north? The poem is preparing for the dying lover or love, of course, but my mind hasn’t processed it yet. I just see the spunky frosty plant and the Peperomia’s lush leaves, the proud explosions of the intrusive species.

She kept the flowers (if I understand it correctly) for a while in the pie-tin above the toilet, to indulge in some romantic scene of lilies on a silver lake. The last two lines introduce the guy wo ‘kidded’ her, a consciously whimsical expression of the fact that he was an asshole. Don’t you think is a very effective way to drop an emotionl bomshell in poetry?