Dear Millennium, of Edible Blossoms and the Unborn

Karen An-hwei Lee

 

The unborn who never make it into this world are edible
blossoms in the orphic throat of God, garlanded by floral
seraphs.  Yes, the sky-blue borage, the cilantro and fennel   
and calendula, the crystallized viola and skirted zucchini,
the alyssum and the fava bean flowers, even the dahlia –
the micro-fuchsia, and the dianthus, the garlic and chive,
the ox-eyed sun-daisy, the shiso blossoms for mint julep,
chiffonade garnish of sage and sorrel of ribboned jade,
the umbels of onion blooms, the six-petaled bell pepper
florets of nightshade, the hibiscus without hips, the ice
plant flourishing on sea cliffs where I touched sweet pea
entwined within the chaparral understory where a sand
lizard, a brother who never came to be, who lost his tail
before he was born, greets me every afternoon while sun
bathing, his missing appendage reblooming with aplomb,
as if admonishing our millennium with apostolic fervor –
in lumine tuo videbimus lumen, in your light we see light.

KAREN AN-HWEI LEE is the author of Phyla of Joy (Tupelo 2012), Ardor (Tupelo 2008) and In Medias Res (Sarabande 2004); as well as a novel, Sonata in K (Ellipsis 2017), and a translation of a volume of Li Qingzhao’s collected poetry and prose, Doubled Radiance (Singing Bone 2018).  Her critical study, Anglophone Literatures in the Asian Diaspora: Literary Transnationalism and Translingual Migrations (Cambria 2013), was selected for the Cambria Sinophone World Series. She lives in San Diego and serves in the university administration at Point Loma Nazarene University.

image: Calendula, Creative Commons license