lemon vines

Brooklyn Botanic Garden


Ironweed raises its fists to the air, pale spicebush gently flames.
Signs promise quince, myrtle spurge, and glory-of-the-snow to come.

One sign tells us of invisible patterns bees see in flowers in ultraviolet light.
The privilege of lovers–
as some details of my beauty are for your eyes only,
would read as folly or recklessness to anyone else.

In the greenhouses:
silver beards of Spanish moss,
spindle palm, with its base like a handmade drum,
fishtail palm, spouting green and purple pearls,
yellow butterfly palm
spreading over golden-eye grass.

Rosemary in the air.


Lemon-vine pouring over rocks,
serpentine cacti spilling out of pots,
tiny desert plants that pretend to be pebbles.

We learn from a sign about sparrow-sized elf owls nesting in saguaros–
an instant reminder that babies live in their mothers, gall flies
in goldenrod, squirrels in elms, life inside life, on and on–


Mahogany, lily-of-the-nile, breath-of-heaven,
star fruit clustered like girls at a dance,
Mars-orange, popping out of green.
The signs say, don’t touch the fruit, but
what tree that didn’t need our teeth for something
would make fruit that looks like that, to us?
Star fruit, we call it, because it’s shaped like stars.