“Too bad that ‘bloom’ is overused,” you say
As we stand beneath a eucalyptus tree,
Your arm around me, head bent back to see
The monarchs celebrating New Year’s Day.
“And ‘burn’ is wrong, and ‘rust’ suggests decay,
But I like ‘bless.’” A thousand blessings cling,
Each with white spots on black-and-orange wings,
To branches unaccustomed to such beauty.
But burn they do: each tiny, beating flame
Lights up the tree, a bloom that’s made of fire,
Flickering in winter to proclaim
A leaf gives solace, milkweed sates desire.
They smolder, cool as rust, in spangled air,
Then fly like sparks, illumining the year.
— Lucille Lang Day
From The Curvature of Blue, first published in Measure