Saturday, December 7, 2019


There’s a winter wildflower
That blossoms in high country
When you would least expect it,
Small, for which no human tribe
Has come up with a story,
No obsessive botanist
Triumphantly coined a name.

It’s easy to miss, fragile,
Pretty in a solemn way,
A purple fleck, a shadow
In a blue-shadowed snowbank,
A bruised leaf in the dry grass.
It’s easily overlooked
But not only overlooked.

It’s not part of the forest,
Nor any ecosystem,
Never belongs where it’s found.
That’s how it’s escaped naming—
It’s always accidental,
Irrelevant, alien,
Motionless mobility,

Just there, surprise, and then gone.
It shows up in empty rooms.
It shows up in idling cars,
A petal by the pedals,
A purple patch on a shelf.
You might have seen it floating
Down a weed-choked stream in drought.

Think back. Try to remember.
Was there a trivial bit
Of purple-tinged happiness
At the corner of your eye
The day you spent by yourself?
A tiny smudge of color
To that cold, drab empty dawn?

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