Greenhouse
Paul Hostovsky

Thatís an interesting mistake.
It should be green house.
But it wants to go there,
say the people in my
poetry workshop, all
nodding like trees in a big
wind. Read Roethke,
one advises. Some
mistakes are beautiful
possibilities. Let the poem
go where it wants to go. My
Aunt Ellie lived in a green-
house. This was in Irvington
New Jersey. A Jew alone
is a Jew in danger, her husband
said. Their daughter, my cousin,
wanted to go where she wanted
to go. They said it was a big
mistake. In a greenhouse you
can cultivate certain delicate
non-indigenous plants. The house
was green and my cousin fell
deeply in love with a black man.
When she married him her father
sat shiva for her, meaning that
he mourned her for dead, but
she was only living over in East
Orange. She had two beautiful
daughters. They never knew
their grandfather on their motherís
side. Because she was dead to him
until the day he died. That was the day
we all went over to Aunt Ellieís house
where she was sitting shiva. We met
my cousinís husband Toe, for the first time,
and their two daughters, Leah and Aleesha.
And we opened all the windows in
the greenhouse on that day, for outside
it was a beautiful spring day and we
broke out the expensive delicate china
from Germany which they kept locked up
in a glass breakfront in the hall.