If We Were Flowers

Two flowers bloom beside our mailbox.

We don’t know who planted the stately gladiolus.
The first spring we pulled him up
With the weeds, not respecting his ancestry
Nor comprehending his mystery.
The next spring we made room for him
And waited.
We almost weeded him again until we noticed,
Lined up in floral precision on his spine,
Tiny packages of tightly folded petals:
Patient potential biding its time.
Now in June he stands erect and proud,
Embraced from behind
By tough, low-slung arms of larioppia.
And in the afternoon he offers long spears of shade
To the reckless lantana below.

We plant the lantana every year.
The cement curb cannot contain her
As she spills over it and is rebuked daily
By our mailman’s right front wheel.
Lace-like, her scattered beauty vibrates
With yellow and green.
Butterflies seek her as their kin.
Her only function to smile up
At her more dignified neighbor
And dare him to bend to her.
And when he does,
Petals browning in late July,
He slopes, lissome and long,
Dropping seeds into her lap,
Dying for her.

-Kitti Murray, kittimurray.com. Kitti and her stately gladiolus are pictured below.


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