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That was my last year in Florida,
illegal and thinking of marriage
as one way to stay. Sleepless nights
of argument and indecision. And

to keep us going I worked a cash job
at an orchid farm. Long hours in
the sun, poor in paradise, the heat
on my back, drilling for a living.

I worked with a Mexican man.
My man Victor, the orchid keeper
called him. Friendly and amused
at the affluent couples who came

to purchase the rich, ornate dreams.
We buried a dead owl together.
I remember that. And my body aching
in the sun. Floating home to argue.

What we were doing I was told
was wintering. Getting ready for
the cold, its indiscretion, its disregard.
Nailing sheets of plastic onto a wooden

frame, hammering, drilling, and sweating
to protect the fragile flowers
and their steel interiors, their
engineered hearts and worth.

That is already a long time ago.
Its contradictions apparent.
Wintering in sunshine. The past
still growing towards the light.
I think of them now as some sort
of emblem of that past, ghostly
orchids shedding their gracious
petals, as we winter here ourselves,

batten down the hatches and wait
for whatever storm is coming, whatever
calamity the cold has to offer us
in the same way the orchids do,

I suppose, waiting through winter
to emerge with budding, fantastical
and colourful insistence to wake and
remind us to be nothing less than amazed.