Cosmos Revealed Behind a Dense Curtain of Poppies

Tung-Hui Hu

And each plant has an equivalent
star in the sky: to read leaves
as pages of starcharts, to navigate by
leaf of acanthus! O lovers, swear not
by the inconstant light of the olive tree.
Feed each other madder root
and take comfort in the thought
your bones grow red: your insides
dyed alizarin of planet Mars to help
find each other in the dark.
Greenhouses, lighthouses. The first
astronomers tended on hands and knees
the soil of the universe, smoothing
away moss, seeding by night.
Now our galaxy has the sixfold
symmetry of ornament on the tower of Alhambra,
shoots curled from stem looping
heaven and earth together. Trace
curlicues and rosettes with your finger.
The chamber sealed off to mortals but
open above, like a poppy.

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