For a whole year I kept two Christmas plants
Amaryllis, and her adopted brother, Cactus
Tucked away in the dark closet
Keeping them so dry they must've believed they were in the Sahara
Must've thought I had forgotten them
In the glory of summer's gardens.
Then, when my plastic stick and the paper note,
taped to the inside of my cupboard door
Said it was time,
I brought them out
Though still in a cool location with at least 12 out of 24 hours of darkness
Just as I was told by the foremen,
& his equal partner in the business,
Watering them sparingly,
As one would give water sparingly
to a man
About to die of thirst
So as not to overwhelm them
With too much of a good thing.
Amaryllis began to grow her long green leaves
So fast that I could almost watch them stretch out longer every day
Christmas Cactus began to show little pink blushes
on the ends of his darker green leaves
Then it came time to bring them out
To put them where they would hopefully
Display their full glory in colour
Cactus was ever so grateful to be out in the brightness again
And showed his appreciation by spreading wide his lovely red petals
Amaryllis grows ever longer
I don't have much faith in her
She's a little more revengeful
And won't let me forget the long lonely months
She spent banished to the closet.
There was one more though;
One who was treated differently from the others
Pointsetta, left over from last Christmas
Was left out in the open all year long
I watered her, gave her light.
Allowed her to take part
As spring turned to summer, and fall turned to winter
She grew bigger and never lost its greenness
I was proud of her
Not many would've done as she did
She was so used to being the only child
She couldn't face the competition
Of the showy new addition to the clan
Within 5 days of her bigger brighter sibling coming home
She shrivelled up and died.
I felt her pain,
and my guilt.
Sibling rivalry can be rough.
But most of us learn
To love our fellow man,
And yes, even our siblings,
Even though we may feel jealous of their beauty
Isn't that what Christmas is about?