Botany in Action

Christopher Joslyn

This morning I found you before the rain,
Before a shower, before makeup and hairspray,
Before you made your breath like mint,
Before morning prayer, soap, earrings, and perfume,
Before hot water, breakfast and a cigarette, when
You were six brown leaves dancing in the wind

This morning I found you before the phone rang,
Before the first bill was paid, before your impatiens woke to thirst,
Before you cleaned rough white crystals of sleep from the corner of your eye,
Before you took any medicine, before you looked in any mirror,
Before your life began to need you, when
You were smooth stones at the bottom of a cold, fast-moving stream

This morning I found you before you touched the powdered wing of your own early beauty
With an attempt to be beautiful.
Your hair a million unmapped directions, a survey of the wildness of sleep,
Your body rising, falling with your breath, before you dressed in different rhythm.
This morning I found you when you were botany in action,
Partly bud and partly bloom, scarlet flower drinking air and light.