Published on Academy of American Poets (

The Gardenia

The trouble is, you can never take
that flower from Billie's hair.
She is always walking too fast
and try as we might,

there's no talking her into slowing.
Don't go down into that basement,
we'd like to scream. What will it take
to bargain her blues,

to retire that term when it comes
to her? But the grain and the cigarettes,
the narcs and the fancy-dressed boys,
the sediment in her throat.

That's the soil those petals spring from,
like a fist, if a fist could sing.


Copyright © 2011 by Cornelius Eady. Used with permission of the author.


Cornelius Eady

Born in 1954, in Rochester, New York, Cornelius Eady is the co-founder of Cave Canem, a nonprofit organization serving black poets

Date Published: 2011-12-01

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