WBPC Winner - Pushcart Nominee
In the botanical garden
orange poppies blaze through the meadow
and peace enters my feet, then slips into my bloodstream
flowing upward to the sun.
There are no words for this absolution,
no words for blessing.
I am votive to wind, to bird calls in the canyons,
to the cactus flowers in whose yellow cups tipsy insects
tumble among their pistils,
and to the giant boulders strewn under the oaks,
Samurai guarding the path.
And to the lost ant crawling over the labeled rings
of a halved sequoia trunk — a sapling in 1150 —
then crossing its rings to the Magna Carta in 1215,
searching fruitlessly for its kind in 1542
when Juan Carrillo explored
the Channel Islands, the ant inching
forward to the Declaration of Independence
and rings tightly yoked by violence together —
death by drought in 2000.
Unaware of its long rite of passage across eons,
the pilgrim finally disappears over the edge
of the trunk into shadows
and the leafy beatitude of home.