Going to seed
by Marge Piercy
Horseradish flowers: they are scented,
lacy. Nobody ever guesses what they are.
Presently the bok choi is flowering yellow
In rounded clumps. We do not expect
beauty in vegetables going to seed.
As a child, I loved Detroit alleys
in spite of the stench—or perhaps
I had not yet learned which smells
were called bad. The backs of houses,
fences lined with coarse hollyhocks,
plain backed garages, overfull trash cans
offering occasional treasure to a child
hungry for presents and prettiness.
There is a beauty in flowers as they
die, the languid swoon of tulips
dropping their petals like scarves
in a last seven veil dance, red roses
turning bluish exposing the gold
stamens crouched under petals. To us
our own deaths are never so pretty.
Copyright © 2007 by Marge Piercy.