Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Feast of Flowers

Aconite.  Anemone.  Autumn Crocus.
Fat purple pads, succulent and sliced
by stripes of indigo drizzled or heaped
like angel hair over bone china
on a lazy susan.  Baneberry,
Christmas Rose, Deadly Nightshade,
Foxglove, and the Iris. 
                                       Neighbors watched
her build the greenhouse last winter—
first in her dark jacket with dark
buttons, then shirtless, just sweating
and raising walls in white sun
with bare arms and a strong back—
they watched for her mouth and
several times they shook while
pouring water into glasses, but
never offered.
                          Ivy, Jimson Weed,
the root of one Mandrake, curled like a
fetal Medusa.  Each day, they watched
as the glass fogged and breathed clear,
until green began to grow up along
its insides and shut the world out
for good.  Brave boys almost climbed
the frame and followed the sun inside,
but they heard a shuffle and the clang
of a spade and their hair stood up.  Oleander,
Rock Poppy, Spring Adonis.
                                               So they waited
late into springtime, watched her mostly—
naked with boots, shorn hair, heavy glasses,
carrying armloads of cut flowers inside—
thought they saw her bite a May Apple—
eight trips for wisteria, heavy like grapes—
wondered should they bring vases and
how her fingers must have looked,
how red or purple they must be, how deep
were the thorns, how chartreuse the thumbnails.

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