Winter Blooms

close up of a pink magnolia

The flowers in San Francisco bloom all year

around. They come in dozens of shades

and shapes, from iridescent

 purples to buttery yellows. Blossoms

that dangle, trumpet-like from trees,

thick blooms on bushes, and clusters

of pinprick petals, huddled

tight to the ground.

The flowers in this city

have never heard of winter,

never felt the sting

of frost on tender leaf, never seen

the tragedy of buds unfurling

in the bitter cold. I have spent ten winters

afloat in snow. White dust crumbling

from the sky, promising nothing, falling like

powdered sugar

on neon-green lawns. The flowers there

know nothing of San Francisco winters.

Much like the people in the towns they

inhabit, the snow-doomed blossoms

have never felt the careless abundance

of sunlight in December. They only

know the salt and soil

of a Midwestern winter,

where one does not shy away

from the end of things, knowing

that death itself is just a season. Spring

will come, with its covenant of light,

and once more, the flowers will grow.

Angel Bista

Angel Bista is a San Francisco-based writer and poet, with lived experience in Michigan and Nepal. As a third-culture kid, she has always been interested in exploring the emotional distance between spaces. She currently writes for the history archive, Brown History, and publishes work on her Substack, playscapes.