She's not angry exactly but all business, eating them right off the tree, with confidence, the kind that lets her spit out the bad ones clear of the sidewalk into the street. It's sunny, though who can tell what she's tasting, rowan or one of the serviceberries— the animal at work, so everybody, save the traffic, keeps a distance. She's picking clean what the birds have left, and even, in her hurry, a few dark leaves. In the air the dusting of exhaust that still turns pennies green, the way the cloudy surfaces of things obscure their differences, like the mock orange or the apple rose that cracks the paving stone, rooted in the plaza. No one will say your name, and when you come to the door no one will know you, a parable of the afterlife on earth. Poor grapes, poor crabs, wild black cherry trees, on which some forty-six or so species of birds have fed, some boy's dead weight or the tragic summer lightning killing the seed, how boyish now that hunger to bring those branches down to scale, to eat of that which otherwise was waste, how natural this woman eating berries, how alone.
Stanley Plumly - 1939-2019
Some—the ones with fish names—grow so north they last a month, six weeks at most. Some others, named for the fields they look like, last longer, smaller. And these, in particular, whether trout or corn lily, onion or bellwort, just cut this morning and standing open in tapwater in the kitchen, will close with the sun. It is June, wildflowers on the table. They are fresh an hour ago, like sliced lemons, with the whole day ahead of them. They could be common mayflower lilies of the valley, day lilies, or the clustering Canada, large, gold, long-stemmed as pasture roses, belled out over the vase-- or maybe Solomon's seal, the petals ranged in small toy pairs or starry, tipped at the head like weeds. They could be anonymous as weeds. They are, in fact, the several names of the same thing, lilies of the field, butter-and-eggs, toadflax almost, the way the whites and yellows juxtapose, and have "the look of flowers that are looked at," rooted as they are in water, glass, and air. I remember the summer I picked everything, flower and wildflower, singled them out in jars with a name attached. And when they had dried as stubborn as paper I put them on pages and named them again. They were all lilies, even the hyacinth, even the great pale flower in the hand of the dead. I picked it, kept it in the book for years before I knew who she was, her face lily-white, kissed and dry and cold.