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The Tulip-Flame


My sister's painting this: a hill, a lane
that winds around the hill, and a wide field
of tulips with a centered tulip-flame.

She rolls her brush through gray and adds the rain
in tiny flicks, glinting arrows of cold.
My sister's painting this: a hill, a lane.

Last year our mother died, as was her plan.
It's simpler to imagine something could
have intervened. The centered tulip-flame

startles the scene; the surrounding ones are plain
pastels, while this one's lit with a crimson fold.
My sister's painting this: a hill, a lane

of cobblestones, a watery terrain
of dripping flowers. Her strokes, elsewhere controlled,
flare out and fray around the tulip-flame

as if it were an accident, a stain,
a blaze in the midpoint of a wet field.
My sister's painting this: a hill, a lane,
a tulip field, and one astounding flame.


Chloe Honum

The Tulip-Flame
Cleveland State University Poetry Center


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