All the Beauty You Can Hold
by Maria Hooley
Last winter we drove through a countryside,Second Place Winner
Barely noticing the barren earth that
In spring would riot into tulips.
You pointed at the sign advertising a tulip farm
That offered seasonal tours
And said you wanted to come back to see
The peach-colored blossoms.
Orange Emperor — I learned the name later.
Fitting that those flowers come to mind
As a spray of peach blooms adorning your casket
Not twenty feet away.
The priest prays
And the congregation does their Catholic best
At silence and refrain,
Rising and kneeling in practiced perfection.
But all I see are tulips,
A whole field of Orange Emperor tulips
And you at twenty,
A small woman
With shoulder-length dark hair,
The ends wound in curls.
Your lips tilt into a smile
Impossible to contain.
You bend at the waist, reaching
For all the beauty you can hold.