February Elegy with Tulips on a Glass Table
It’s the yellow dust inside the tulips.
It’s the shape of a tulip.
There’s no controlling them — even cut, they grow,
even cut, they keep turning, they swoon
over the lip of the vase — petals closed, petals
splayed, or falling, edges sunset
insides still on fire.
Three are hands and I name them:
Beseecher, Beggar, Supplicant,
over there is a mouth, a little open,
the long vowel in only. Only one
is standing straight, the last sentence
in a book you can’t bear to finish.
He is the yellow dust
blanketing a glass table whereon
stands a row of his cello bridges —
cowboys with bowed legs
and carved-out hearts fixed
to a drift of wood. And next to it
a black stone, ovoid, worked flat
by water, oiled by our fingers,
a perfect fit
for the palm. A hummingbird
still lives in his binoculars.
This is a made place —
but isn’t the mind an archive?
Isn’t the body? Think of the hummingbird —
think of my heart — how it beats
1200 times a minute.