I’ve never been fond of poinsettias. I consider them sly and untrustworthy. Their “petals” look suspiciously similar to the leaves beneath, and though the vibrant red looks good from far away, it has this odd dustiness that seems noxious if airborne, and makes me wonder if the color was sprayed on. Do they even need water? Unclear. I don’t even like to walk close to them when they’re displayed by the entrance of a store. It seems unwise to turn one’s back on a plant that is trying to disguise itself as a ribbon. To what end?
It took seeing a pale, sickly poinsettia discarded in the parking lot at Trader Joe’s to change my mind. Its foil was shredded from the wind, its leaves frostbitten and dappled with white spots. The ghost of Christmas past must have entered me, for I felt so sorry for it that I almost picked it up and put it my trunk. It looked so lonely. I didn’t, of course. I left it there, and watched as a minivan backed into it. I suppose it was inevitable, though I drove home feeling like a scrooge. What’s wrong with a bunch of ugly little plants trying to get into the holiday spirit? They deserve happiness, too.