i took a turn under a luncheon sun
for the unfurling of bearded iris flags,
billows of color unwound from pencil-thin buds,
petal-splashes of purple, violet, blue, and cream
that I floated and then puddled into mud
on flimsy pages of watercolor pads—
in a class of middling women trying to find themselves
in the loose spill of wine and words and stains
they fancied as Cotswold cottage gardens,
heady masterworks to lavish on laundry-room walls.
an erect bed-edge iris took an early fall,
death by a rude shoe or carelessly tossed ball;
I stood over this rainbow rider, now dirt-bound
and brick-baked, with royally tinged frills
shriveling into common bruises and
yellowing like the nicotine fingers of
my painting teacher who tapped his cigarette pack
under the desk while we giggled over
days of wine, roses, and landscapes gone amuck.
the iris cast a hard-headed silhouette,
with a gaping ruffle—
jaw-jutted open, in the moment of no air.
Smooth: rarely does it happen.
Soul deep storyteller, editor, writing coach, and social media human