This is how it happens, one morning
The ground is only the ground, & then
Green shoots through the rich brown loam.
I learned the word loam when I was starving
For something: fools would call it love,
& I would say it was a time machine, longing
For some days, months, years, when the regrets
Didn’t bloom like this thing from the ground
That I can barely name. Tell me how these
Peonies have migrated from Asia to my garden,
Have found their way into my line of vision
Despite prison and all the suffering I don’t speak
Of. It all happens so sudden is what I mean to say,
When sadness because a beauty before your
Eyes so startling you ask friends what to name
This flower before you. I admit, I’ve pretended
To be god. To give a name to this thing that gives
Me joy. I called it Sunday, and then called it
After my firstborn. Have you ever been so startled
With the unexpected. That you wanted someone’s
Blessing to name the thing? The peonies are so
Beautiful they frighten me. They grow on thin
Stems that are longer than my arms and the blooms
Are heavier than the stems. But isn’t it always so?
The beauty of the world so heavy we fear the world
Cannot stand it? & yet why would we not want
To pray when we notice? Why do we forget that
Naming is the first kind of prayer, even as the white
Flowers turn into scented oil against my skin.