Dandelions and Irises

May you always be the dandelion growing into blows of perpetual steps, and never the iris growing into passive opulence.

-Marc di Saverio (2020), Crito Di Volta, p. 11.

April’s yellow dandelions:

They do not have petals. They have manes. The green has been replaced by gold. Not the gold of riches pulled from open-pit sulphuric mines. This is the gold of soil. This is the gold that grows underfoot. This is the gold that the rich cannot poison into submission. This is the gold that tickles every generation of children who play barefoot, reminding them that softness can be obtained for free and without price, for the free; for the creative; for people who see with new eyes instead of people who patrol with tired bylaws. Gold of the urban parking lot cracked by rain. Gold of the suburban street where pensionless retirees watch grandchildren run circles around sprinklers. Gold that explodes into sparkles and flies away on the slightest, lightest, gentle breeze. Gold that spreads like rumors. Gold that disappears but leaves behind a stem. Not a stem, but a flagpole stripped of flags. They do not have petals. They have manes.

June’s purple irises:

Purple flags unfurl then refurl around each other. A bloom that splays royal purples downward and purple pyramids skyward. Blooms that are hollow implosions. Buds that began at the tips of meter-tall spears. Buds that are thorn-sharp, sun-forge curled; buds with spirals like the rifling of a gun’s bore; buds that pierce, thrust, on walls of leaves. Blooms that reveal the spearhead is made of royal flags; the spearheads are made of silk purple and gold; the spearhead is fleur-de-lis incarnate; the spearhead is a thrust from the castle wall; the spearhead is thrust so high it cannot be turned to the earth without snapping. The blooms cannot be turned to the earth without snapping. The purple blooms so high in the air they cannot defend against the earth. Royal blossoming implosions colored for the Crown. Sometimes, a floating dandelion seed passes between them, at their altitude, like an idea, like a whisper across a castle wall.

TERRY TROWBRIDGE’s poems have appeared in Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Carousel, Lascaux Review, Kolkata Arts, Leere Mitte, untethered, Snakeskin Poetry, Progenitor, Nashwaak Review, Orbis, Pinhole, Big Windows, Muleskinner, Brittle Star, New Note, Hearth and Coffin, Synchronized Chaos, Delta Poetry Review, Literary Veganism and more.