iris versicolour

Alive but standing still,

Iris stood against a patch of marigolds

(her complements in yellow),


and I just happened to have a knife

and a jar to carry flowers out alive

—to capture hues familiar to Van Gogh.


It’s no different from the goldenrod stems

I hung against the blue walls of my kitchen

last September to guard against the coming doldrums.


Spring now, in my yellow-painted study,

and Iris passively, unmovingly, impassively

drains her earthen vase. Ah, sweet reeking


sweat of calamus. This swamp pulpit

will no longer bear the prostrate bee

who tries to part her purple lips.


Iris is vincible: she’ll wane in my study;

but for now, still alive, still standing,

she embellishes, invasively,

like a prism dragging rainbows in.