Brian Curling   © 2012 All Rights Reserved

On the Subject of Tulips

Leaves risen in all aspects of abandon,
consorting, or perhaps consoling one another

stems stripped of lamina, leaf blades shorn.

To be lovely: to be sure of one thing
and one thing only, to be placed just so

to turn the torso toward a window, to crane
after the clotted light sifting through the blinds

this is the meaning of inquisitiveness. To wait
with half-opened petals, tips curled

like the lip of a sling-jawed fish.

How many ways can light bend?
Who can say here, now is its true inflection?

Here is the last, head closed in prayer, lacquered shut
as if painted by brushstrokes, swaying silently

yea though I walk through the valley—

In a field of mulch, in a pool of wheat,
in a vase set beside a bed with rusted bolts.

Plant the bulbs deep. Sprinkle them in early spring.
Teach them how to turn away from shade

Watch them split like a hand, variegate
in shape and size. Watch as the faces wizen.



Mia Ayumi Malhotra
Copyright © 2012  

Mia Ayumi Malhotra received her MFA from the University of Washington, and her work has previously appeared in the Asian American Literary Review, Cha, the Stanford Journal of Asian American Studies, and Leland Quarterly. Currently she is the associate editor of Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry.

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