A Poem

Don’t touch the tulips, 

but they beckon, blush
in a resin vase, elegant
even with cut stems divorced
from Washington soil, and my daughter
is a blithe Eve in this reenactment
of the Garden.

Don’t touch the tulips,

but she leans, fingers outstretched,
tummy-folded along the edge
of the kitchen table, for a petal
the variable of sherbet.

Don’t touch the tulips,

and the petal faints
on contact, falls
to the counter, beyond
Daddy repair, now accessible
in death as my daughter
looks over at me with eyes
past innocence:

You did this with your grave
command, your prohibition
of beauty noumenal,
your lack of faith
in thy kingdom come.


Editor’s Note: The is the final poem of a brief series. For earlier installments, click here and here.

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6 responses to “Tulips”

  1. Stephen Waggoner says:

    Man. I know that the garden is always happening, but I did not expect it at such a simple moment at the kitchen table. Terribly wonderful.

  2. Andrea Black says:

    What a gift. “Your lack of faith in thy kingdom come” … I’m going to have to chew on this for a while.

  3. Skye says:

    “A blithe Eve in this reenactment of the Garden” I love the image this brings to mind

  4. cherri says:

    Beautiful…I love the imagery of the “tummy folded along the edge” – brought me to real moment

  5. John says:

    This poem is arresting with its unexpected character and conclusion. I was not prepared for the final stanza and it hit hard. Powerful.

  6. Jim Meals says:

    Like other readers, I was stunned by the poem’s conclusion. “Tulips” has a playful quality which suddenly morphs into something very different. A wonderful achievement!

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