three tulips

One is voluptuous, a study of desire the way it is opened. The pale throat

of it offered or forgotten, the great silence and the way it is issued:

pale yellow, white. Shh. Come closer. There are six petals. We may call

it tulip but we’ve been wrong before. Here is where the wonder begins, that

mysterious bulb that blossoms into worship. Watch. There is a second, a

study of intent. I burn, it says, but I will burn only this far. It is a

single portion of flower that could quench the multitudes soaked the way it

is in sunset, sunrise, an altar for the beginning and end of our days. Each

of its six petals could shelter a winter, roof a houseful of lovers ripened

with longing. Beneath our feet, we’d call these petals home. And the

third, the third is master in the study of patience. Three petals surround

three petals, its centre a mystery we peer into like the future. Some of us

are dismayed at how closed it remains. Some of us have begun to ignore it

and exclaim over the other two flowers. And as the first tulip lets loose a

petal, the second begins to burn wider. And so we begin to tell time in

this way. Eternity to the third flower who is slow but in its slowness will

lean into the space where there were once two others. Here it will sip

quiet memory and bloom finally, a purple solace.

Published online January 01 2005.


The Poetics of Space cover image

This piece was published in ‘The Poetics of Space,’ the Winter 2005 issue of CV2.

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