Lily, Dimmed and Seeds

Mercedes Lawry

Lily, Dimmed

If the lily is wounded by rain,
petals collapsed to blurred alabaster,
splendor now sagging,
though more tender in its diminishment,
you might reflect on the notion of time
in the botanical world, which will fuse
with time known to a bee, or a crane fly,
a hummingbird, even the stray cat
roaming for prey. And if you
are the gardener toiling in the dirt
with a sore back and an abundance of hope,
you may see the dimmed lily
as unfortunate or ephemeral,
though probably cyclic, even beautiful
like wet paper made with cotton
or papyrus or mulberry leaves.


The quiet is an egg I hold
in my cupped hands, thumbs
softly tapping as if life
still pooled inside. I am taking
what is fragile and giving it
teeth. The sky is static blue,
smoke-scorched. The fading garden
droops, cracks, as seeds are propelled
like pent-up school kids.  
Sweet peas, lupins, poppies,
I gather what I can, sort them
into jars and plastic tubs, label them
for the long winter. Peppers still ripen
to lipstick red, announcing their bite.
September scrolls russet and gold. Caught
between seasons, I yearn for rain
yet dread its blunt, endless chill.
This is when memory comes from behind
to demolish what I thought I’d built,
distance between what I’ve lost
and the tame murmurs of an ordinary day.

Originally published in Moss: Volume Three.
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