The Iris

Near dawn, walking your yard, you tell me what color bloom each clump of spears

will throw to the sun, and from where each first came. Though it's spring, not the

right season to excavate the irises and reset them 60 miles south, your hand

spades down to interrupt the links. You rend each bulb a quarter turn, hold each

up, examine what's left, pile color upon potential color, while I trail you, nodding

or shaking my head as you describe the blossoms that will come. Some will be

carnival glass, iridescent golds and oranges at the tops of fluted stems, and purple

birds will fly, screeching in the humid wind. Dainty blondes will perch on high

stools. I want them all, want so many that the pile grows huge and I cannot close

my arms around it. We can find no one bucket large enough. We leave them in

water while we sit on the porch, talking. You, too, cannot decide. And I tell you

there are no petals to predict, no clusters of bulb that will tell us. Later, I drive

slowly south, while water from the two pails sloshes to the floor, and halfway

home, rains disturb the road's oils, all those shallow gray rainbows.

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