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
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 fenceó
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.

© May 1997 Leslye Layne Russell

This poem was published in
the May 1999 issue of Free Cuisenart
and the July 1997 issue of One Dog Press.

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