Roger Pao

Glass Wildflowers

In private, you explained your longing to me in a way
you believed I could understand.

Earlier, I had taken you to a museum
for the sole purpose of showing you the main exhibit:
an air-conditioned room full of life-sized,
lifelike wildflowers, glass wildflowers inside glass cases,
fashioned by a botanist-glassblower in his prime
and labeled with the precision
of a cartographer, their Latin names laid out before us.

It was a pure and accurate beauty.

In private, you said you once genuinely believed
you loved me, briefly, as briefly
as when we pulled into our garage, the door lowering
behind us, enclosing us in with a lawn mower,
paint cans, a snow shovel, a bookcase, pink insulation,
as when I leaned over your lap to stuff our map of Boston
into the glove compartment.

It had nothing to do with glass wildflowers: beauty,
pure and accurate, is not beauty.

Roger Pao is a recent graduate of Duke University and currently lives in Cary, North Carolina. His poems have appeared in various publications, including The Allegheny Review, Concrete Wolf, Glass Tesseract, Gumball Poetry, The Independent Weekly, and Poetry Depth Quarterly.


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