Of Orchids With Petals
That Break Too Easily

POETRY by Chelsea Fox MFAW '22

Boiled yellow blooms board shut—
Is it spring? Is it winter? I can’t tell.
Where once were faces, now are orchids.
The revels of blooms pollinated by
paper wasps that hum still
with the fading snow alongside me.

I have let it bloom, yet it has left me
nothing. When will these petals shut?
Like the eyes of passing, still
but not quite shut. Pray do tell,
how do the hours pass by
for these anxious orchids?

Practiced and patient claret orchids
that resolve themselves to remind me
of tears in the skin—linen stained by
red carnation hue split. Close the shutters.
Is there nothing you forgot to tell
me? Beside these blooms, I wait—still.

Petals break like pale eggshells, still
the bitter winds do not spoil these orchids.
Of winter that could foretell
the overdue spring that, for me,
your expression would be offered laced shut—
Like orchids at night, bellowing bye.

Darning the lilac verdant hillside nearby
the vessels for white lilies, waiting still
beside the graves unshut.
What of these yellow orchids?
Why must they bother me?
I am viridescent. Or can’t you tell?

With passing gale, it is not possible to tell
how gently a stem snaps. By and by,
three-petaled quandary—that is me.
Dare the unsettled gale to be still,
sudden, between these orchids
squandering under my touch, shut.

Is it spring? Is it winter? I still can’t tell.
I am by these orchids, drying like salt, resting
me-agerly with these white lilies—blooms shut.