Before the lush lawns and fragrant
locusts, before lace-pinks
of dogwood and massed bloom
the tulips are mild flames
to close a cold season.
They open their candlewick centers to sun
and flare back until our own faces
seem kindled by light.
In one day the brightness
transforms the yard, as though their color
emits wavelengths of heat and sound
that flicker through senses.
In evening they close
like prayer plants -
a last warmth of embers
that still flower in the darkening.