Maryann Corbett: Receding Ambitions

Always too early. Itchy. Urgent.
The fog-filmed air and ice-slick footing
were tipoffs enough. They ought to have taught you,
but noooo. Impatient, punchy for action,
you caved. Gave in to the catalog's cover
and hi-gloss pages. Put unglazed pots
to scalding, bleach and scrape-knuckled scouring.
And then — in it, up to your elbows
in muck-making. In dealing dirt.
Those packets, perfect — you tore them apart,
then wimped out in the weeks of waiting.
That's you, chica. One chance: you botched it.
Gro-lights lurid. Seed-leaves neglected.
Plastic flats filled with your failures,
the dwarfed, the scraggly, the damped-off dying.
And these odd stalwarts. Stand them outside,
hunkered down by their mud-mouthed holes.