Glorious flower in the garden. Gloriosa Superba,
Flame Lily, Climbing Lily, Glorious Lily. Pran
Its dull orange glow isn’t loud.
But it fills up the screen as if we all
know it, as if its sly tubers
are everywhere. Its five circling
climbing arms bulge, burst up ruby-
round into their prickly flames, then come
neatly together at the top.
It’s no interplanetary visitor.
It twirls in earthy reddish peach, sun-
shredding east and west.
Almost cunningly at the bottom
green vines wind and turn, stick out
their sleekest slender wires
with yellow miniature foot-pedals
on the ends, as if they’re kids’ toys
ready for races, tingling.
Who knows if their real size is for tiny feet
or a giant hand. Each pedal waits
in a goody-good, tea-banana humor
to be plucked off. Sucked and
sucked? on the tongue! like a childhood
flower. Instead Pran says no no, never
and he’s a doctor.
The whole flower causes an unexpected
and nasty ending with abdominal pain,
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding
manifestations, confusion, convulsions
and coma if imbibed.
I guess it’s a glory because
its creeping, tuberous trembling makes
everybody want to taste it.
Maybe it’s a leftover
from that oldest allegorical
garden, served up for know-
it-alls. It’s like a little reminder
of something we’re not supposed
to have. And here I am, trying to inhale
its sunny pain-parts, looking for time
to explore all its fiery mysteries.
Now it’s so close I can almost chew
on each of its friendly
mistakes – so far away
my lips loll
I’d like to play some soft, saliva-
salacious, brassy symphonic chords to it –
you know, the reddish-yellow
french horn kind, set to explode
into golden satisfactions, the blissful
endings we all really want
to sink into together.
Pran found it in his backyard.
It may show up some day
in one of ours, all ready
with its glorious colors to clamor,
coax and coax. I wonder
what we’ll do then.