My grandmother grew flowers for each grandchild,
Let us pick rose or lily, sunflower or black-eyed susan.
Tiger lilies for me, their petals dusted with black pollen
Like a moth's shadow.
In the summer evenings, we sat on the porch,
Feeling the day's warmth in the floorboards,
And watched the night swell up from the horizon,
Playing Chinese checkers until everything was darkness
Edged with streetlights where great orange moths
Shaped like flowers flickered through their pools.
I'd read Hans Christian Andersen and imagined
Every object in my vicinity charged with storytelling
And explaining its existence:
The Chinese checkers telling twenty separate tales
As they hopped across the board. One was a pirate's gem,
Another had flown in an UFO, big bellied and orange as marsh gas.
One had fallen in love with the scent of madness
And one ran away, rolled away into the grass
To sing to the tiger lily that was its love
In the silvery moonlight that touched each rose.
"Tiger Lily Madness," by Cat Rambo, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
If you redistribute this poem, please include a link to