long green stems,
sturdy supports
for fifteen lily blossoms,
all but two still closed
awaiting their time
when they will relax
in the warmth
of late afternoon,
coaxed by the air’s caress
to open and reveal
six silky pink-white
and apricot petals,
tongues of delicate flesh
dancing symmetry
around six handsome stamens
displaying miniature curving swords
heavy with maroon powder,
a mere dust,
yet offering value
more precious than coin

“they will bloom” you said,
and they have…
slowly, invisibly, steadily,
with as much assurance
as the strong grey light
of your eyes;
“they will bloom”
you whispered the language
of medieval courtship
with one translation,
one meaning that speaks
of love’s beginning
and the possibility of forgetting
the passage of years,
the possibility of leaving
this anchorite’s narrow bed
with its history and collection of tears

“they will bloom”
as surely as full-throated day follows
a moonless night,
“they will bloom”
into a melody sung once more
by heart and by grace,
threading a trail retraced
after long wandering;

for now, I will sit quietly
and watch
for that smallest
of movements
that begins the opening of the bud,
the timing secure in the genetic spiral,
the beginning forecast,
a fait accompli

without impatience I will sit
and not blink
nor doubt;
each morning I will water these lilies
with trust.