In the Faces of Flowers
for Bettye Gene
I see her in the faces of flowers, her laugh lying in wait in the sweet white alyssum, her smiles wide in yellow marguerites. In red New Guinea impatiens I see her tanned in summer shorts, garden hose in hand, watering the flower-filled pots lining the patio, paths, and walks. I hear her clear, strong voice in Shasta daisies, and the love of her sings out in the yellow rose, the pink rose, the white. Bright pink hydrangeas: her full life, her exuberance. All her garden appears and there she is, moving through it, through the random cosmos, through the waist-high gold of her life. Hollyhocks, scarlet penstemon, deep blue ornamental sage interlaced with the vegetables, fruit trees, the occasional grass, were all her domain. And, yes, red canna lilies, rich purple iris, wild blue speedwell along the back lattice fence— is there a flower she did not love? As I walk among flowers she knew, in my body the buds of the golden cosmos open, open in abandon.