Springtime Narcissus

She had the power of beauty
pressed into her hand
like a little key
that could open many doors.

Priests floated by
carrying their buckets of sin
to empty them into the garden,
feeding the springtime narcissus.

She listened to each greasy mouth,
let the words pass through.
Sticky smears clouded her conscience.
She pressed her key into their locks.

The facility with language,
the words, the wail of Whitney Houston’s voice,
sins sloshing in a bucket,
spilling over the side.

They dripped over her
as she lay in the rain
under the Everglades,
lungs damp, hand loose around the key.

A flower arose from the soil,
pure and white.
Dark leaves danced around it.
They crumpled, fell like dollar bills.

In memory of Jeanette Smith
December 26, 1976 – March 20, 1999

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