floral week — poem #1
There’s an overabundance of squash blossoms
in the garden that can’t conceal their orange-yellow
skirts beneath enormous leaves shielding the fruit.
I learn to distinguish male from female and decide
to pilfer some to stuff with cheese
while puzzling over the first person to eat flowers.
I suppose they seemed safer than random fungus
covered in an acrid ooze. My nose wrinkles in
consideration of how a dark, unsightly knob of earth
that might be an ingredient to feed unwanted visitors
could ever be called a diamond in the kitchen.
Could flowers be consumed to ward off disease —
like how George Vanderbilt built a home
in North Carolina to salve his mother’s illness
with fresh, cleansing Blue Ridge mountain air?
Sitting taller startles the towhee tiptoeing
through the garden and it shoos off to locate
breakfast elsewhere, though my garden
does boast some plump, insecticide-free bugs.
Next year will require more flowers, I note,
and has anyone ever craved those pansies
I’d gingerly topped twenty-three plates of souffle
with at the B&B? When they’d call
for directions because GPS didn’t yet exist,
I’d always say you can’t miss it
because it’s the big pink one
where Charlton Heston used to live,
while conjuring his version of Moses
to part the sea of traffic so they’d arrive
just in time for afternoon tea.
I’m late to the game but was inspired by this prompt from Tapan Avasthi: