every winter i plant a bulb in a pot and place it on my kitchen table. my kids were raised with blooming bulbs in the middle of winter. we would even bet when the plant would bloom: before christmas? after new year's? one winter, the bulb would not bloom. i was in a new home and thought perhaps i hadn't discovered the right pool of sunlight for it, so i moved the plant (with 28 inch stalks!) from here to there in my kitchen, but still no bloom. i could relate. i was not exactly blooming where i was either. the ranch supply store in this poem is in an old part of town. the ceilings are low and the floor groans. i love the sound of boot heels on the wooden floor— it's as though you've gone back in time and at any moment you'll hear the stage coach roll to a stop outside, with a bag of mail for the tiny post office across the street. if you linger in the store, you will gradually realize that you are not the only person in the store who has come to the store for a sense of comfort. this year, i have paperwhites from the store— the bulbs handpicked by floyd's nephew. guaranteed to bloom. want to bet we'll see blooms before the third snowfall?
Sherry O’Keefe, a descendant of Montana pioneers, a mother of two, sister to four, cousin to dozens, credits/blames her Irish upbringing for her story-telling ways. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Switched-on Gutenberg, Barnwood Poetry Review, Avatar Review, Babel Fruit, The High Desert Journal, Main Street Rag, and others. Her chapbook, Making Good Use of August was released in October 2009 from Finishing Line Press.