(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
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