The Shape of Tulips
Tulips like winter are not easy
With names like Imperial Pink, Angelique,
The Beauty of Apeldoorn, queens
That grow best in full sun. Tamping
the lawns of my boyhood. It is hard
To recognize them brooding
In the tough quiet of a spring afternoon.
They were there, bulging,
Mermaid eyed and ready for lost legs and voice.
“How long is it before you forget
The first time you spoke of love?”
The tulips today ask me over and over,
Season after season, old bulb, same affection.
The main reason tulip bulbs fail in the north
Is poor root growth due to the cold.
In order to survive, there must be extensive root systems.
Timing is everything in the planting.
In tulips, there is no such thing as weak love.
Nurturance and attention are a matter of life and death.
Weak root system equals a deathbed.
Delicate, they are, but isn’t all love in some ways?
There are days when I feel delicate, secretive.
A bulb in some crush’s clandestine soil,
Waiting to be wrapped in newspaper,
Kept dry by safekeeping, sweet hands.
My stems soaked with care in lukewarm affection.
It’s been a long time, but there’s something about
You that makes me want to give life to this beautiful thing.
Days when I have the termite to open
Just for a few days,
To give you an orgasm of the land,
A gift for the way delicately touch me.