Oh the water lilies. See how they seem
to open wider out of their own opening?
Let me unfold like that—without thinking,
without assuming I’m already open enough.
Do not let me close up, all stiff and stoic,
like a walnut that will not crack.
Don’t let me become the one who groans
when someone else starts to rhapsodize
about the fragrant wisteria in spring.
Why is being hardened a respectable, desirable thing?
Let me be soft. Let me always sigh as I bite
into ripe watermelon, juice spilling in runnels
of pink down my chin, down my neck.
Let someone else stand beside the waterfall
and explain how its negative ions work,
and let me be the one getting drenched
and falling in love with the sheen on the rocks.
Let me not leave my signature like the woodpecker,
but let me chant endlessly on summer nights
in the way that the whippoorwill does.
And why not? Why not praise the slender-bodied weasels
who turn white then honest brown?
Both colors are equally lovely. Why not enthuse
over the bulky walrus that has adapted to stay warm?
Oh let me be warm and give that warmth back to the world.
It’s so easy to turn cold, to poke fun, to accuse, to be cool.
Let me be a fool. Let my thoughts of how the world should be
jump away like a mob of wallabies. Let me not find pleasure
in making things small or putting others down
or rolling my eyes or criticizing. Let me be silly.
And gushing with praise for whatever
is the nearest thing I see—
a twig in the rain, a rock on the trail,
a red leaf that has already let go.
by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer