The Plants That Grew

Rebecca Hazelton

Without regard for season,
                        zone, soil, sand, or loam:
                        frangipani – all scent, creamy
                                                petals, no nectar,
                                    driving the bees mad — named
            after an Italian marquess who distilled it
                        to perfume, daubed it
                                                behind her ears to drive
                                                                        her husband
            to nuzzle around her like a bee,
                                    asking her where she'd been—
and roses,
            heads like drowsy cabbages,
                                    draping from long canes as thick
            as a man's arms, and prickled all over,
                        grappling over the landscape
                                    into a rustling carpet,
                        bourbon, noisette, centifolia
petals loosen with every breeze.

Rot-scented pawpaws, corpse flowers with their thrusting
            crocuses, paperwhites,
                                    and poppies dashed throughout,
and everywhere the insects,
            greenbottles, flies, swallowtails,
            flying low, caked with golden pollen,
                                    and they were all drunk with the wealth,
            buzzing their good fortune up to heaven,
their sleepy song continuing into the evening,
                                    before bats and birds descended.