How to Address a Black Iris (Villanelle)

Even perfect eggs are made to crack,
and morning breaks so morning light gets in.
It’s true, I’ll leave, but every spring come back.

Wizards wear white beards, though yours is purple-black.
Root-bound passenger, let’s let our world spin.
Even a perfect egg is meant to crack.

Midges bite, leaves crimp, coiled cancers attack.
Heart-strung, you never sicken, never thin.
I leave, it’s true, but never turn my back.

Fires burn, pine bark beetles leave their tracks
on trees, but never touch your seagreen skin.
Even perfect eggs — aren’t they meant to crack?

We dress, clothes horses, chests full, rack on rack,
while you fix petals with a single pin.
It’s true, I leave, but never turn my back.

Stalk-bent, dead-headed, stem and flower slack,
did you tease, die, or tell me with a grin
that even perfect eggs were made to crack:
“I leave, it’s true, but every spring come back.”

Narcissus pseudonarcissus

Bell narcissus, bobbing on the swell of wind
that licks up the foothills, trumpets filled,
gulping lungfuls of the upslope morning.
Springing mute-lipped, one March day bowed with snow,
the next, by their deep pneumatic will, upright,
flexing, boxing air.

Still, unstill cornets who neither sing nor stop.
Soundless, December’s cellared children,
together tethered to unspeaking kin,
hand on mouth should someone hear, speaking
only through their skin.

What we know of yellow is extracted,
emetic, from their frayed and furrowed flutes.
Use this caustic color with care, she warns:
Spring brings out its fighters first, those with a thirst
for struggle. Picture tinctured spirit, too strong
for pretty idling.

Copyright © 2019 Lilibug Publishing.