A lily stands in a glass. The night before
I cut away its breath and brought it here
To make that garden mine. It gleams alone
Even as white as midnight in the moon.
Bees at my window make a gold assault
And break the screen, and usher pollen out
Along the bines of air. I went so close
That yellow smeared me to the planted floor.
Some brown will strike along the petal’s edge
Or fragile stem, collapse to a fall, and I
Watch while a blossom withers from the moon
And turning in, wait for its fumes to leave.
Sunday—the air is heavy with their legs,
Strummed on arrival in voluminous tones.
The bones of bees would make one instrument
Sweeten fogged windows in a bolted home.
Just then, breeze mussed the surface of a lake,
Torn stem is broken at the water’s face,
And the moon, it sleeps in the throat of a flower,
Dreaming a nectar bees trail in the glade.
The bright prints of summer fade, and I
Must pluck as many flowers as I can find,
Rummage hard ground until those last petals come
Trembling, to greenhouse, from the perilous world.
Wind on the petals leaves an odor here.
Last night, the same smell carried me on
As if, in my own room, nothing is changed
But altered a little by the look I have.
Hundreds of openings let winter in
Or something white, or colorless, and then
I find flowers and everything else gone
As if the wind had come instead of bees,
Incredible murmur summoning from me
Something of gardens where the lily fell.
© Stephen Berg