Writhing in vegetable curves
Coiled like petticoats
Wrapped around a woman’s ankle
Neither bud nor blossom
A garden invader
Spinning green and modest
And as workmanlike as a salad
Wound tight as a shell
Like the helix of the ear
It grew close to the earth
A stairway of leaves curved to listen
Not to the sea
Not to words
But to the botanical life
That breathed and rippled
Through the maternal silence
Of its earthy crib
I was walking back to work, from the bank – congratulating myself that my purse hadn't been stolen (I held on to it, white-knuckled, all the way back).
At one point I passed a type of box hedge, dull and olive – its flat, sheared top just reaching to my shoulders. In its interior there was a lot of activity: I saw the leaves vibrate; I heard delicate rustles as the tiny inhabitants jumped from branch to branch. There were groups of twitterings rising to the surface and breaking free, the notes taking their place in the sky as if it was an endless, blue lyric sheet.
I really didn't understand anything that was being said, but surely the discussion was an excitable one.
From the top of the hedge there sprouted a flower. It had wings. It grew with quick, nervous movements. It had a beak which had once freed it of its childhood home, when its petals were still curled and weak. Its roots were not visible, twisted tightly around one of the branches which formed the dark labyrinth within.
Then: Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Four more appeared – an entire featheration of flowers. They spun on their stationary stalks with sharp, little turns: like the tiny ballerina dancing inside of a music box.
This garden, alive, breathing, driven by rapid flickering hearts, was growing only a foot or two away from me. But not a single blossom took its floating flight. They were in constant rotation: maybe they were looking for the sun, and were having trouble finding its warm reassurance on such a cluttered, dirty afternoon.
I walked away smiling. If I had dared to pick them, what a charming bouquet they would have made.
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