From Issue 15: "Hydrangea" by Rachel Hinton (Poetry)



Rachel Hinton


Reading time: Approximately 3 minutes


"Hydrangea" first appeared in Issue 15 of Tahoma Literary Review. Many images in this work pulled at me, drawing me into Hinton's exploration of what the world allows us to celebrate, and what we allow for ourselves, and where "esteem" lands in the middle. The contrast can be a powerful one and at times, worth confronting. Here, the poet does so with a fast movement in ideas. So although the central image of this work is voiced in Spring, for me it has the ability to provoke a timeless message even as we head directly into the darker months. I hope you'll read it, and agree.

 Let us know your thoughts by posting over at our Facebook page, or reaching out to us on Twitter. And as always, thanks for reading!

Mare Heron Hake

Poetry Editor




In your next paycheck there will be one        

thousand more dollars, this is one of the

many ways, your boss says, they will show

great esteem, and esteem is a word pushed forward like

spring, like hydrangea. What are the

proper reasons for elation? One thousand is one

portion of what you make, you                     

make fifty though what you make should not make it out

you are elated and petaled and

you are a puff of hydrangea flying, a token of great esteem.

You want to talk to your dad so you go to a website,

buy a floral top and a striped top, it is the time for

spring in your mind. Your boyfriend said you never

buy anything for yourself and you are high, buying.

You wish to be emergent, planetary, a conduit for the coming

big disaster but first you just need to

do this one quick thing.

Pour out, as your inbox fills with warnings of

capsize and Softest Tees Ever We Just Got An

Extension and the Climate Won’t Wait, these are all

emails of happiness. Each is a

work, each pushes its little lozenge of

work to the world. Its excellent life, you are

possible to you, are changing. You cannot

talk to your dad, he was the              

highjump champion of the Lake Wales schools and

you are the champion of

having a thousand dollars, it

is a thousand lakes to be the flowers beckoning over,

it is one fiftieth of what you make (you should not be candid about            

what you make O to demur in your beckoning to be shy and not    

dead about dollars). How much does it take?                        

You can den in offices far from your dead.

They are not skimming toward you on roads anymore,

you don’t have a car even

to be hovering in fear over—

you divested yourself of it years ago, plunked it

in active breakdown. Around it                                 

oniony greens shot up. It was                                   

spring, valleying you in tenderness,              

opening its drenched mouth.



reprinted with the permission of the poet


Rachel Hinton had this to say about her work, "Hydrangea":

I had been thinking about the word "esteem" as it had been used in the context of a particular conversation. In myself and others, I notice a sort of flowerlike beauty in that desire for esteem—a fragility and humanness. But that desire is also tangled with other qualities—a pushiness, an impertinence, a link, in our time and place, to money/commerce. I was trying to write more deeply into that tangle of ideas.

Originally from Vermont, Rachel Hinton lives in Chicago, where she works as an editor and teacher.