High Holy Days 2023

Hydrangeas,” first published in Before There Was Before (Iris Press, 2017)

Poem written by Wendy Drexler, used with permission from the author

Pour themselves over the fence

like buckets of sun-blazed cream.

I brush a fleshy petal, wondering how

the branches can bear them, the way the blossoms

thrust aside the leaves in their impatience to descend,

all bustle and pomp like the girls

who snubbed me in high school.

Yet when the light drains into dusk,

the blossoms ease into a watery-blue

tenderness, willing to slur boundaries,

blend into branch, blend into bush.

Becoming devotion. And look,

already they are wilting a little—they will keep on

wilting, there will be no stopping them.

More gently now than before,

I brush two petals

with the tips of my fingers to lend courage

as they tuck themselves back in—

they, too, not yet entirely lost in the darkness.