(to muse comes from a word meaning "to stand with an open mouth") 


Such roses may come out!

Such thick thorns and scented petals

blooming out of our tongues —

it's hard to close the lips

after a while — even mulch

can keep the jaw slack

and the pen sifting, a pause

here and there for the pruning shears,

the show judges, the occasional

problem with aphids. But such

fragrant sounds: like spring.

So we stand with our mouths open

like fools, making our puns and gestures

till a garden comes twisting out, all wild

at first, maybe just budding —

we lick and kiss it, breathing

it back into our lungs and out again

till the petals open and each is framed

by green. Roses rest like pendants

around our collar-bones and shoulders,

like a braided chain of words that scratch

and blossom. Shoots wind back in.

The fingers we use to place the vases

are sprouting. If we gape long enough,

the whole body turns to summer. 


“MUSING ON FLOWER POEMS” anthologized in Desert Wood: An Anthology of Nevada Poets, edited by Shaun T. Griffin, University of Nevada Press, 1991, pages 237- 241