Flora of the Tropics


In our wild gardens, we grew
no apples goldening in late light,
no pears or plums. What animals
nosed their way into our simple plots
tore pages from tightly bound greens,
leaving fiddlehead ferns
to sleep undisturbed by the shed.
If any star fell into the belly
of an apple, we did not hear
about it. We did not cut its flesh
crosswise to find a sign about
our origins and fall, our
banishment. In the smudged fields,
tubers marbled patiently, waiting for us
to pull them up and out of the earth
like babies. What crescents crowned their
arrival! And of the air, roots of orchids
spoke to each other in their own
vernacular. Of flood, we knew nothing
until galleons pushed their way into
the channels. Of grasses, we knew
which could bind and which could forge
canopies to repel rain. How are we
blind and how misled when we've coaxed
stones into terraces leading to the gods?
Laid end to end, they would make more
than a girdle for this earth.




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