Sierra Gentians

Listen to Jim Powell reading “Sierra Gentians”here. Most summers Sierra gentians bloom unnoticed hidden in meadow grass on their short stems— a lowly flower the yellowish white of old bone, its chalices are more conspicuous, their throats exposed in the sparse grass of a dry year.

Stoop closer and the purple streaks appear
that mark the inner faces of the petals:
kneel in the morning dew and see how they descend
inside the bell and disappear, swallowed in shadow
among a fading speckle of green flecks—

pale trumpets trailing in the sandy soil
at lakeside, tiny bone white cups for Persephone
gathering dawnlight, humbled in the dirt
where we will all lie down in the one bed together
and each lie down in the one bed apart.