I curl a finger on the strange petals —
reminiscent of grandmother’s laces, the macrame
she wove with deft, withered fingers,
spooling out shapes phantasmagorical, like fairies
and the strangest of the world’s beasts;
I dip my thumb in the golden center and come away
bearing honey, the scent of it distinctly alpine;
it says a lot about us, choosing this borrowed bloom
as our signet.
as a child, I saw so many other flowers;
and so the wonder grew within me — why this one?
why, when there are forests full of lilac,
when quince hangs heavy every May, come autumn
wilting into the queenliest of all fruits?
it dawned upon me: as a nation, we have always been
ashamed of our heritage, or at least of the parts
which were deemed unseemly — the Eastern blood,
the Slavic fire.
we bought the country kings of German blood;
of course we also bought their seal.