Song of the Oyamel

By Karen An-hwei Lee
On the other side of this door

You are an oyamel native to the mountains of Mexico

Rising in a cloud forest of sister evergreens
Shedding pollen cones, shedding winged seeds

Our lost wings
                    singly and in pairs.

This is why the monarchs vanish    
Raising sienna-hued colonies longer than my arms

Hibernating in Mexico where it’s hotter in January
                than my front yard, where the red bougainvillea raves

And magnolias             with a mauve rush on paper
And open as though thinking about last year’s novels

Read over the shoulders of garden-strollers

Obey the apostle’s exhortation
And do everything in love.

Source: Poetry (April 2012).

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2012
 Karen An-hwei Lee

Biography

Karen An-hwei Lee is the author of Phyla of Joy (Tupelo Press, 2012), Ardor (Tupelo Press, 2008) and In Medias Res (Sarabande Books, 2004), winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize and the Norma Farber First Book Award.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Gardening, Nature, Trees & Flowers

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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