Ode to a Yellow Onion

And what if I had simply passed you by,
your false skins gathering light in a basket,   
those skins of unpolished copper,
would you have lived more greatly?

Now you are free of that metallic coating,
a broken hull of parchment,
the dried petals of a lily—
those who have not loved you
will not know differently.

But you are green fading into yellow—
how deceptive you have been.

Once I played the cithara,
fingers chafing against each note.
Once I worked the loom,
cast the shuttle through the warp.
Once I scrubbed the tiles
deep in the tub of Alejandro.
Now I try to deciper you.

Beyond the village, within a cloud
of wild cacao and tamarind,
they chant your tale, how you,
most common of your kind,
make the great warrior-men cry
but a woman can unravel you.

“Ode to a Yellow Onion” by C. Dale Young from The day underneath the day. © 2001 by C. Dale Young. Published by TriQuarterly/Northwestern University Press. All rights reserved.
Source: The Day Underneath the Day (TriQuarterly Books, 2001)
More Poems by C. Dale Young