Bonsai, Golden Lotus

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Jan. 5 2000 3:30 AM

Bonsai, Golden Lotus

Grafted to composure, a courtesan
Sways like a willow, & the sap
Stuns into a fierce singing
Snipped to mourning twigs

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& trained bones. Divining rod
Cut from one musical limb
& limp. Wounded into beauty,
This root-bound unblooming

Breaks mid sentence & falls through
The bottom of chance. The trees stop
Limping when someone chops down a grove
To make an idea live, stealing breath

From a lotus raised out of a half sleep,
A shiver goes through hand-painted silk.
Stunted into green pleas, the whimper
& laugh grow into each other.

Yusef Komunyakaa's new book is Warhorses.