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Photographs of Flowers

In the morning, the red tulips
are closed, but when I return
at night, their petals are open
and looking for light, black centers
exposed, pinprick pupils.
I want to photograph them
and the flowering trees along
the street, the pear blossoms
and the magnolias. The petals
are already tearing off
and being blown into the road.

The park is full of people
holding cameras out in front
of them like maps. How close
can they zoom in on a petal,
a bee, a stamen. This is almost
like pornography, the flower
lying there, open before
our eyes, the camera we crouch
with. The flower's stillness,
and our scrutiny, our breathing.
Those we love, we pose them
in front of flowers, petals next
to their faces. This is how we
talk to them about their beauty.

Hannah Stephenson

In the Kettle, the Shriek
Gold Wake Press

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