The tulips reach for the lamplight
having no natural light, no sunlight,
no bright window. Although
we are instructed to keep them
from the heat and glare, so we cannot
be blamed. They are white,
with yellow centers I know of
but have not yet seen. Soon, soon.
One of you began walking in early morning
and kept walking and falling and walking and falling and walking
all day into evening,
never tiring or if tiring never resting until you crossed that wide
One of you tried and faltered.
And later in the day, tried again.
And sighed and said to yourself another day.
And another day.
Some stretch of days bordering a month
and then never ceasing.
Maybe there is a need to hurry or maybe not.
I could be talking of the hare and the turtle or not.
These tulips take their time
while my face: one day I was no longer young,
like that French author. A sudden shift, avalanche,
or those daylilies that yawn wide and holler
and then wither quick.
I began reading obituaries, that old
story I thought was just a story,
something fictional characters did.
And coffins versus urns versus boats sent out to sea aflame.
These became considerations while others paced themselves,
never drawing up the will, the mirror mirroring
what they had always seen.
The tulips bend their stems
not unlike swans bend their necks.
They are of the spring, their turmeric innards tease.
Kelly R. Samuels lives in the upper Midwest. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net, and has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including The Carolina Quarterly, Rappahannock Review, Sweet Tree Review, Salt Hill, Heron Tree, and RHINO. She has two chapbooks forthcoming in early 2019 – one from Unsolicited Press and one from Finishing Line Press.