The Names of Flowers
I never thought I was the sort of person
to remember the names of flowers.
But as I pass I drip dew on crocuses
and cowslips. I do not remember now
how long it is that I have been gone—
only that a season is ending. All else
is lost in the blackening of dying
grass and small, brittle birds.
I do not remember myself now,
but god, I could tell you the color
of every insect I've ever seen
crawling on my geraniums.
I am sure they will find me
with tent worms in my hair,
beetles bedded under my eyelids,
sorry that I've crushed the dragon snaps
and forgotten to cull the weeds again.
By that time the pearly wild onions
will have pushed through the skin
of my palms, a carpet of violets
triumphing over my belly, soft
as eider down. I will be something
people are surprised they remember,
the sudden name of a flower,
the precise number of petals
on the final gardenia, the white sky.