The Iris Fancier

by Paul Chubbuck

In summer he carefully separates the clumps of iris
And replants them with loving precision.
The gentle caress of his eye and hand brings beauty forth,
And people come from miles around to admire.
He gives low-key tours of his sumptuous beds.
He says, “The stalks are pretty good this year.”
He says, “That one didn’t bloom this year.”
He says, “We had a late freeze. That might’ve done it.”

What a sight for me to see
The nurturing he lavishes on them
Which he lacked for me,
The pride he shows in their blossoming
He withheld at mine.
I was not the one he wanted.
I was the extra one he tossed aside into the ditch.
Unplanted, unweeded.
Unwanted, unheeded.
Nearly destroyed by that late freeze,
A long, cold freeze.
I grew in spite,
Not knowing if I was a flower, a weed, or a son of God.

Now I have an iris bed.
They are in bloom and people come to see.
Like him, I say, “The stalks are tall this year.”
I say, “They’re pretty early this season.”
I say, “Some smell really nice.”

I don’t say what he didn’t say.
I don’t say,
“Look! God and I have made a beautiful thing.
Please see this thing which is me.
See how fragile and delicate I am in this bloom,
How majestic and silent here.
How dark and mysterious in this one.
See how I have survived the weather and the insects
And have now unfolded.
Smell me, here spicy like cinnamon, here sweeter than a kiss.”

Paul Chubbuck is a practicing psychotherapist in Fort Collins, CO, using Somatic Experiencing® to help people release trauma, abuse, and loss. He may be reached at 970-493-2958 or through his website at

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