Thursday, January 3, 2013

"Flowers" by Linda Pastan

Oak Park Conservatory, Oak Park, Illinois 

The deep strangeness of
flowers in winter--

the orange of clivia,
or this creamy white rose

in its stoneware
vase, while outside

another white
like petals drifting down.


Is it real?
a visitor asks,

meaning the odd magenta
orchid on our sill

unnatural
as makeup on a child.


It's freezing all around us--
salt cold on the lips,

the flinty blacks and grays
of January in any northern city,

and flowers
everywhere:

in the supermarket
by cans of juice,

filling the heated stalls
near the river--


secular lilies engorged
with scent,

notched tulips, crimson
and pink, ablaze


in the icy
corridors of winter.


"Flowers" by Linda Pastan, from Traveling Light© Norton, 2010

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