The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers
by Theodora Goss

I tell the truth in flowers.
I open my mouth: out falls
a rose, a violet,
forget-me-nots, a lily,
a daffodil, until
my hands are full. How lovely,
and yet — what have I said?
What is this floral language,
and can it be sufficient
to communicate my meaning?
What if I want to curse?
What if my truth is dark
as garden loam, as scattered
as beetles? What will drop
from my mouth then? A rose
half-chewed, the petals tattered,
already disintegrating
as it drops into my hand?
As broken and as fragile
as words?

Beatrice by Marie Spartali Stillman

(The painting is Beatrice by Marie Spartali Stillman.)

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