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Sunday, May 24, 2009


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All week we’d passed the weedy patch,
lugging grocery bags into the house,
going out to close the cold frame
against night frost, carrying kitchen scraps
to the compost heap.

Saturday morning we saw it, among
last fall’s dry day-lily stalks --
eight narrow petals forming a white
star, cupping yellow stamens in their
sculptured, fragile perfection.

A scalloped, veined leaf, moss green,
framed the solitary flower.  Sunday
the blossom was gone, leaving
a shiny, pale green pod.

Sanguinaria canadensis, cousin
of the orange-red poppy, non-narcotic,
shares the human tendency to bleed.

Sally Tolan has been writing poems since 1980.  This is the title poem of her book published  in 2007 by Past Press, Milwaukee.