Cardinal Flower

Red cardinal flower (Wikipedia Commons)


Cardinal Flower

Red flash—
a few sprigs

puncture the monotony
of brown-green bog,

never-ending evergreens
and skeletons of cedar.

I know you,
skulking in the wetlands

between bridge and dam,
around the island,

beneath the boulder’s shoulder,
under jack pine.

When I pull you up,
your grace drains fast—

I replant you in a box
outside my window.

Spindly girl, you must need something wild
I cannot provide—

you refuse to root for long. Oh
well. I’ll just sit here, drinking

in your pure, red element
for a few days

while you struggle
to stay alive.