Sarah A. Etlinger

Reflections on Narcissus

The vase of daffodils you gave me
sits on the center table,
aching yellow and preening
atop hollow tubes cut
precisely at the knees
to be top heavy and glorious.

They hold the air hostage:
I cannot help but think
of Narcissus, forced to endure
his own reflection for eternity;
condemned to draw nutrients
from clear water.

But when I look at them all,
fanned out, their stems
hugged together in the clearest water,
I realize:

sometimes the body chooses hollow--
chooses water
or a patch of snow outside
rather than early spring soil
full of richness;

sometimes the fear
of not drowning remains
more powerful
than that which could save us.

Sarah A. Etlinger is currently an English professor who lives in Milwaukee, WI with her family. Her work can be found in The Gyroscope Review, The Magnolia Review, Cliterature, and many others including anthologies. Interests in addition to writing include reading, traveling, cooking, and learning to play the piano.