November 12, 2006|By Ted Kooser

Many of this column's readers have watched an amaryllis emerge from its hard bulb to flower. To me they seem unworldly, perhaps a little dangerous, like a wild bird you don't want to get too close to. Here Connie Wanek of Duluth, Minn., takes a close and playful look at an amaryllis that looks right back at her. - Ted Kooser


A flower needs to be this size

to conceal the winter window,

and this color, the red

of a Fiat with the top down,

to impress us, dull as we've grown.

Months ago the gigantic onion of a bulb

half above the soil

stuck out its green tongue

and slowly, day by day,

the flower itself entered our world,

closed, like hands that captured a moth,

then open, as eyes open,

and the amaryllis, seeing us,

was somehow undiscouraged.

It stands before us now

as we eat our soup;

you pour a little of your drinking water

into its saucer, and a few crumbs

of fragrant earth fall

onto the tabletop.

Ted Kooser was U.S. poet laureate, 2004-06. Copyright 1997 by Connie Wanek; reprinted from ?Bonfire,? New Rivers Press, by permission of the author.

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