Still Life with Tulips

Just as you’re pulling aside the slider,
its glass already gone dark enough to hold
the whole dining room framed in its pane,

there they are, afloat in the mirroring glass –
ten hothouse tulips, orange and yellow, flaming up
bravely in their vase, along with two plates,

a few chicken bones and slick of sauce,
an empty wine glass, a half-full goblet of water,
white linen napkins adrift at the plates’ edge,

and two candles exhaling their last wisps of smoke,
two of everything, it seems, even the scene’s
repeat in the slider’s art of illusion – twin rooms,

one phantom, one solid. In comes the bracing chill
of March, the mineral scent of the new-moon dark
with only an amber streetlamp night-lighting

the two-foot snowdrifts that are already melting
into the lower region of roots, rivering down
into storm sewers, the music of moving waters.

Margaret Holley’s fifth book of poems is Walking Through the Horizon (University of Arkansas Press). Newer poems have appeared in online at Bluepepper, Eclectica, Gnarled Oak, The Tower Journal, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. She currently she lives with her husband in Wilmington, DE, and serves as a docent at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library.

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