Ed Madden

After hours in the botanical garden

for my father

Acknowledge now the tea olive,
whispering to the garden wall— 

lean in to hear its sweet locutions,
to learn the vocabulary of sweetness. 

Stoop beside the leopard lily—
those black pods of clustered seed 

shining like fruit on the stem. 

Why do I know I will miss you? 

And why does it come to me
in a garden, of all places?

Prospect of the finite:
black seeds in your palm. 

The garden is hushed, the visitors gone. 

The senna alata folds its leaves,
lifts its candles of flower in the darkening air.