Tuesday, October 11, 2022

The Flower Girl

She wears a yellow sun dress and white apron
as she catalogues spring in Solomon’s speckled field.
A straw bonnet shades her cheek, surely not for modesty,
and she carries a basket of white evangelical daisies

praising heaven though their wings have been clipped for now.
Who would question this golden-haired mistress of the morn?
Unexpectedly, she turns and steps from the painting
onto the gallery floor—no one perceives the three-dimensional sin—

and threads the stem of a lazy lilting daffodil
through a buttonhole over the quickening of my heart.
She kisses me with lips as red and ripe as strawberries
before walking to the museum door and the street beyond.

On the canvas, a brunette invites me to a picnic on the grass.
I accept, for who am I to resist the call of lascivious love.
How long I have tasted the vintage of come hither
from the wineskin of this country-bred lass—

a day, a year, or a century’s slow waltz—
is not a matter of importance to patrons and guests.
No matter, for she has blue poppy eyes above peony cheeks
and, under her rough cotton dress, wild roses for breasts.

~William Hammett

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