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ISSUE:  Spring 2006

 
Who would guess that glory
would live on a pea plant’s
sticky mouth smeared

with golden pollen?
The monk frees
the flowers’ sexes

from the calico bonnets
and shoos the abbot’s
sweet-bottomed bees

and with tweezers snips
powder from the anthers
while the style hot with nectar

reaches up. He pushes the tip
of the camel-hair brush
in this bright dust—

and the bells of the flowers
twist to him; the knotting tendrils
strain on their brittle twigs—

and the tiny stem is painted
gently, as if it were
a thread of spun glass.

The opening yellow
bud swallows
the scientist’s bait

and it floats down
into the ovum like a
point of light in the throat

so that the whole body
is singing deep praise
of his touch and oh

yes Mendel this
moment is the best
of glory’s evidence—

one can see it even
in the white blossom’s
effusion of bliss.

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