Yet another flower poem

The American Dream is uncovered for being just that

in the flowers of the poinsettia, which are not flowers

at all but a series of scarlet bracts or modified leaves.

They recall the lips of Hollywood stars like Rita Hayworth,

and, most poignantly, of America’s astounding poet,

Sylvia Plath. But this is my garden in Bulawayo!

What has the American Dream or “manifest destiny”

got to do with it? Everything, I guess; except our clichés

are different, like “Commonwealth of Nations”, “rod of empire”,

“Rule Britannia”. And this shrub, Euphorbia pulcherrima,

adorning my early winter garden, concordant with that

afterglow of common thatching grass unsettling as its “flowers”,

is as much a settler as I am; and the day that it leaves

is the day I leave: “For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth”,

as politicians have, and academics (a white poet

should restrict his content to the flora of Bulawayo),

“to stir men’s [sic] blood”. My settler friends and me, our destiny

is obscure. We measure out our lives in platitudes, clichés,

watching the sun set on Zimbabwe, as it set on empire:

scarlet and gold, heart-breaking, most beautiful—pulcherrima.

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