The Savant of Sunflowers,
The Apprentice of Roses

Diane Ackerman

From The Kenyon Review, New Series, Summer/Autumn 2002, Vol. XXIV, No. 3/4

Something in a rose
knows to spread its roots
into a stable base,
how to shimmy up a trellis,
graft onto reliable stock,
open up rich with scent,
and slowly unfold another
flush of tawny bloom.

While you’re away,
I miss the parts of me
that regrow with you:

the mischief elf, the sensual self,
the sonneteering ghost
who rides the flanks of night,
breathing time, sweating stars,
while memories swim
like constellations overhead.

I miss the serpentine Eve
who rarely dozes, the attaché
that sometimes imposes,
all the sprites who sprint
through the high supposes,
the patient saint who aspires
to a heaven which encloses,
and, especially, the touched one
committed to the asylum
and penitentiary of roses.

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