Gray's Lily

by Daniel Jenkins Issue: Fall 2017 Special Issue on Extinction
You saw whose lily this was.
The green swaying carpet wave
sweeping her stem and plying her skies.
Pretend for one instant
she isn’t extinct.

The danger, the cold stripping her purple-red skin,
born in dreams, made by dreams, and forbidden.

When you stole her,
you told her to shush, to quiet, or else—
& each time she shed a petal,
or lost her root,

or even forgot her name in the marketplace,
the blame for her vanishing
shifted from you to somewhere else.

When before, she swam,
untouched under broad, green canopies
of black tusks, those trees shrouding her bogs,
she rode the verdant tide
ebbing and flowing beneath her.

Like a flowering green carpet,
myth is now her body,
body is now her lyric.

You don't remember her name, do you?
It's too late now.

       —Lilium grayii


Daniel Jenkins

Daniel Jenkins studies poetry in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. His work has appeared in JMWW, Lost River Literary Magazine, The Magnitizdat Literary ​and Up The Staircase Quarterly. Daniel lives and teaches in Northern Virginia.