Ficus Lyrata

September 1, 2010

One September morning . . .

One September morning,

the day I started medical school,

I placed a two-foot specimen

in my sunny south window.

Then Chicago froze into fall

and reams of lecture notes

swelled into huge white drifts,

the heart-shaped ficus leaves

dropping like sad notes from

a Spanish song, and by finals

nothing remained except

rough brown scars

on cracked dead stems.

Today, on her own

September morning, my

daughter starts medical school

while I scratch my bald head

and wonder why she chose

to follow my old ambition.

And I wish I knew the way

to protect her from the avalanche

of facts and nights on call,

but all I can do is ramble around

the house, checking our plants

for aphids, feeding them

all the Miracle Grow I can find.